Janene Kahn, Volunteer for Advoserv Q&A
Advoserv is a company that owns and operates several group homes for the disabled
- What do you donate? For my Christmas giveaway, I donate all natural products that I make (soap, deodorant, scrub, and toothpaste), toothbrushes and toothbrush holders, razors, feminine products, socks, hats, scarves/gloves, sweets, snacks, and bottled water. I also had some crocheted blankets given to me to donate. For years, I’ve bought meals for homeless when I see them. There is one particular guy that I see often and I usually make sure to get him a meal. I do not give out money that often.
- Explain why you decided to donate items or time? I’ve always felt compelled to help those living on the street. It does my heart good to be able to do the small things that I do. I hate to see those in need and lacking the basic necessities of life like food and drink, shelter, etc. I also know that it could be me if things took a terrible turn for the worse and I’d want someone to do the same. Knowing that some are vets and some have mental illnesses are also touchy subjects with me as I am a veteran myself and I work with individuals with various forms of intellectual, learning, and emotional disabilities. When I travel to major cities like Washington DC, Philadelphia, and my hometown Baltimore, I’m overwhelmed by the number of people actually living on the streets.
- How often do you donate? I do my big giveaway at Christmas but I try to keep hygiene products, snacks and water in my car so if I see someone that is homeless I can give them a bag. When I see this man that I know is homeless, I’ll get him a meal. I plan on trying to donate lunch bags at least once a month. It’s just hard during the cold months finding them. I did, however, find out that some of the homeless hang out between the Dover library and the post office. So I know now where to go.
- Do you think your contributions make a difference? How? I think so. When I’ve given out the bags and have gotten handshakes, God bless you, thank you so much, and hugs that show me they are appreciative and makes me want to keep doing it. The man that I buy the meals for always tells me that I “don’t know how much it helps,” and he always has a “God bless you” to follow that. My response is “God bless you!”
- What effect does donating have on you personally? As I mentioned previously, it does my heart good. The first time I did my Christmas giveaway, I didn’t know whether to be happy or cry. I was overwhelmed with their interest in my natural products, the genuine and humble spirits of the individuals, the conditions they were living in and the number of people (this was in Baltimore). It makes me feel good to provide a meal to someone who has nothing to eat and to see their smile of gratitude. A couple of days after my giveaway, I saw a young lady sitting outside on a bench with one of my bags beside her. It made my heart smile.
- What are your feelings, opinions, and concerns about the homeless problem in Dover? I honestly didn’t know it was as bad as it is until this past Christmas holiday giveaway. I would see someone homeless here and there but now that I know where they hang, I’m seeing them more and recognizing the faces from my Christmas giveaway. My last stop was the Interfaith Mission and I left there wanting to do more. The men were very polite, appreciative, and helpful. They took my bags for the women and delivered them to the appropriate office for me.