Mary Schneider, who completed the JustFaith program in 2011-12 , asked the question, “What could one do to be more present to a person experiencing homelessness? What should happen in order for a person to feel valued as a person?” Mary and others who had completed JustFaith formed themselves into a group known as the “JustCaring Group” to ensure that every homeless person encountered through the Welcome Mat program is aware that he or she has value as a person and is worthy of conversation and relationship with others.
Group members wait at the Welcome Mat lounge area to talk with the homeless over the lunch hours and be present at St. Mary Cathedral in the area outside the parish office when individuals arrive to pick up a sack lunch. A volunteer is present on a daily basis to engage in conversation, listen to their stories and to let them know they are worthy of conversation and relationship. It is a simple yet powerful concept: caring for the whole person and providing for the Spirit.