A Monthly Hero Profile: Carol Esch

How did you become interested/connected to Water Street Mission?

Several years ago I received a mailing from Water Street describing their work and their need for volunteers in various areas. I was intrigued by the idea of going on a tour of WSM, and when I did, I was so amazed at the breadth and depth of their services to their homeless guests! I started volunteering in Food Services and was personally touched by the equal care & dignity shown to each person – whether guest, volunteer, or employee.

What excites you the most about our work?

Water Street really seeks to realize the potential for restoration in every person that comes through their doors. No one is thought to be a lost cause. Every guest is treated with great respect as a child of God. And I’ve witnessed a number of success stories that make me teary-eyed when I think of them.

What made you want to support us financially?

The many services that Water Street offers – medical, dental, behavioral – are not only excellent but free to the guests. I wanted to be part of this important work and be able to play a small part in bringing health and wholeness to the guests.

How has your giving changed over time?

I started by volunteering in the dining hall, serving lunch twice a week as well as giving financially to seasonal drives. I then saw that there was a need for volunteers to help process donations, and I began volunteering in that area. As I saw that there were larger, annual events to fund certain areas in Water Street (like Top Chefs which benefits Health Services), I began giving to those as well. I am consistently impressed by the different areas of the ministry (Wonder Club and Teen Haven, for example) that are serving different populations (children and teens) so very well and have been moved to give to those areas as well.

Why did you decide to become a Monthly Hero?

Honestly, once I decide to support a non-profit organization, I’d rather set up an automatic donation. I know that Water Street is receiving my funds directly from my bank, while I don’t have to remember to send a check or use my credit card each month. It’s a win-win for me!

Can you tell us about a time you’ve encouraged others to become connected with us?

I’ve spoken to numerous people about the real joy of volunteering at Water Street and how I’ve personally seen lives being changed just by interacting with guests in the dining room. And they’ve signed up to serve a meal or help during Christmas, for example. But I’ve also shared with people about the beautiful new Providence Shelter and the way that it is providing a special space for single homeless people to feel cared for. The more people come and see the work that’s being done at Water Street the more they are naturally moved to donate their time and/or treasure to the Mission.