Liisa has been homeless off and on since Elizabeth Gregory Home opened in 2006. She learned about EGH when the Seattle Police Department’s Community Service Officers referred her to the WHEEL shelter that operates in the basement of University Lutheran Church. She discovered the EGH drop-in Day Center when it opened in 2007, and because of the close proximity, would help the center prepare to open in the morning.
Liisa began volunteering for Michele Martin in 2010 when Michele was one of only two full-time paid staff positions. Liisa would put away groceries, sort clothing, and donations, answer phones, sort mail, and assist with cleaning and closing the Day Center at the end of the day.
In addition to allowing women to cook individual meals, EGH started offering congregate meals in 2015, serving both breakfast and lunch. Liisa accessed meals but also took advantage of food that women could take to consume after they leave for the day. “We generally run out of food by the third week of the month and being able to count on food from EGH is a blessing,” said Liisa.
Since she became homeless, Liisa has broken her leg and had surgery on her hip. Recovery from those injuries was made even more difficult while she was living in a tent in the park. Liisa relates that it was vital for her to have a place to go every day so she could heal by resting, accessing showers, and doing her laundry. Despite her injuries, she was – and is – committed to volunteering at EGH. Just last week, she cooked a huge pan of chicken cacciatore for the congregate lunch meal. “I think it’s important to help out when you can, and give back.” Liisa said, “After all, EGH has given me so much.”