Employees instilling a renewed sense of hope at Transitions Homeless Center
Two AgFirst employees are helping to instill a renewed sense of possibility and hope for Midlands-area residents who turn to the Transitions Homeless Center for a lifeline.
Glenda Thompson, director of organizational development and training, is making a difference as a member of the Transitions board of directors, while Kaih Taylor, third-party risk management manager, serves as the Bank’s Transitions engagement coordinator.
Open 365 days a year, Transitions serves an average of 350 adult clients daily, including 260 residents. From 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., an average of 85 to 95 Day Center users pass through the center’s metal detectors, check in, shower, get a haircut, have lunch and socialize. Since it opened its doors June 2011, Transitions has served more than 2,178,600 nutritious meals and moved over 3,200 clients into permanent housing.
Taylor became a Transitions volunteer in 2018. Today, she oversees the deployment of Bank volunteers to serve lunch on the first Wednesday of each month and works with departments to schedule team-building opportunities.
“Over time, the relationships I built with other volunteers at the center, and more importantly, the residents, made me want to become more involved,” Taylor said. “So when our previous volunteer coordinator left, I was asked to take her place, and I jumped at the chance.”
Seeing the direct impact volunteers make on the homeless community is what continues to motivate Taylor in her quest to help others. “Seeing the gratitude on the faces of people which we are able to impact and serve a meal is special. Knowing that there are organizations in our community like Transitions that are helping those in need motivates me to stay plugged in and do all I can to help.”
Thompson says she became involved with Transitions because she believes everyone needs support at one time or another, and you never know when you might need help caring for yourself or a loved one.
“As a young woman, I was bounced among multiple family members. While I was never completely homeless, I have deep feelings for those who are and are seeking help to find housing and become more independent,” said Thompson, now in her sixth year as a Transitions board member. She can also sometimes be found working the serving line during lunch.
Like Taylor, Thompson is always looking for opportunities to support the people who need Transitions’ services the most. Not long after she joined the board, her team suggested conducting a sock drive, since socks are one of the most requested items of homeless shelters. That year, 100 pairs of socks and other items were donated to Transitions. Today, the sock drive is a regular end-of-year event that generates considerable employee support. During the pandemic more than 1,000 pairs of socks were purchased for the center during a virtual version of the event.
AgFirst is proud of Taylor and Thompson’s efforts to support the most vulnerable members of our community.