Why this volunteer has served for more than a decade – and doesn’t plan to stop

Her brother Arthur had talked about StreetWise for years. And when Ann Ingram retired, she knew the time was right to start volunteering. That was more than a decade ago.

“At first, I served at StreetWise one day a week,” Ann said. “Now, I’m there all day Wednesdays and Thursdays. I help with the mobile food pantry pack days, and if they’re really in need another day of the week, I’m there then, too.”

Part of what drew Ann to StreetWise is their vision to help individuals and families become self-sufficient and change their lives for the better.

Ann and her brother, Arthur

“StreetWise is a great organization that’s truly trying to help people get back on their feet. We like to say that we’re not a handout but a hand up,” she said. “By helping [the way we do], we provide our clients with self-worth so they can change their position in life.

“I’m so happy serving at StreetWise that I’ve never looked to serve elsewhere.”

And her joy is contagious. In fact, a friend of Ann’s has become a regular volunteer because of her invitation.

“A friend of mine, Harry, told me he couldn’t imagine working so hard without being paid. But when he was just sitting at home after retiring, I invited him to come work with us [at StreetWise],” she said. “If you ask Harry now, he’ll say he thought he was coming just to help one day, but now he comes in at least twice a week. He loves it!”

After nearly 11 years, Ann has seen some big impact in the community because of the work StreetWise does. But one area of service in particular stands out to her: prayer.

“We have prayer time every day, and it really makes a difference for people. It makes them think. I’ve seen people grow from it, but you may never know how big an impact it really makes,” she said.

Even with all the good StreetWise is doing, Ann has a vision for more: more space, more volunteers, and more services.

Volunteer Larry and Ann

“We have a lot of partners now, but we’re making changes and trying to bring on even more partners,” she said. “In our new building, we serve more people and have more volunteers than ever, but it would be nice to be able to spread out even more. We serve 90 clients over the course of three days a week, but with more volunteers we could see clients all five weekdays.

“From flooding in our building to the pandemic, we’ve sometimes really had to make do. But the Lord has brought us through.”

Ann enjoys seeing change in the lives of others, but she’s found that StreetWise has changed her life for the better, too.

“I’ve built such good friendships [serving here],” she said. “And the people here don’t have ulterior motives; they just want to serve.

“I want to do something for people and for the Lord – and this brings me closer to the Lord. I feel like He’s really pleased with what we do at StreetWise, and I am too. It’s just a great place to be.”

If YOU want to help people throughout our community, become a part of the work we’re doing by visiting www.streetwisegeorgia.org/get-involved/volunteer/ today.