Long-term StreetWise volunteer shares his heart for breaking the cycle of poverty

You wanna change someone’s life? Come join me on Saturday.

Meet Waylon Hoge: Husband of 23 years, father and lacrosse coach of two daughters, and StreetWise board member. In addition to his business Integrity Engineering & Development Services, Waylon enjoys nature and the outdoors. His love for landscaping was actually what sparked a connection with StreetWise and allowed him to begin partnering with them.

“StreetWise needed some landscaping done, so I volunteered to head up that project for their site improvements – that was 13 or 14 years ago,” he said. 

“I was really impressed with what they were doing there. From that point on, I started volunteering and helping out with the Mobile Food Pantry.

“Once I did the landscaping project and saw what the organization was about and what the mission was, I wanted to get involved. In 2019, Terry [StreetWise’s co-founder] invited me to be on the board, and I decided to join.”

StreetWise is more than just a space for people in need of physical resources; it also ensures provisions for the spiritual needs of its clients through offering to pray for each one who comes through.

“What I want people to know about Streetwise is that it’s more than a food bank; even though the food bank is a big part of what we do, the ministry is the mission,” Waylon said. 

Tracy Joseph (StreetWise Executive Director) and Waylon Hoge

“My big dream for StreetWise is that God will continue to provide so the doors can remain open and provide for the community.”

He doesn’t just mean opportunities for clients; StreetWise also provides opportunities for its supporters. 

Clients receive needed help, and volunteers fulfill the calling to serve others.

“StreetWise is not only helping the people in need, but also the people who are searching for a purpose,” he said. 

Waylon believes that the services StreetWise offers are instrumental in helping its clients, and their children, to be self-sustaining.

“Streetwise certainly has an influence on a younger generation; it can change their lives,” he said. 

A lot of the people we deal with are in poverty, and it’s a generational thing. How do you break that cycle? When you can change someone’s life by a couple of degrees at a younger age, it makes a huge impact on them at an older age.

 StreetWise knows a job well done when it sees it, and Waylon shares what that looks like.

“Ultimately, the goal is to have an impact; to bring them to the Lord,” Waylon said. “When we see someone who goes from a client to a volunteer, we’ve fulfilled our mission.”