Letter to Seattle

Letter to Seattle: You must give to receive

St. Francis volunteer finds meaning in helping others

By Leigha Bone June 21, 2023

Leigha Bone

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2023 issue of Seattle Magazine.

Letter to Seattle highlights good deeds and positive experiences in our region. This is a letter from volunteer Leigha Bone to St. Francis House, a Seattle nonprofit that helps clients who need clothing, toiletries, home goods, and more

Dear St. Francis House,

I am fortunate enough to have a loving family and close friends, but after two years of working remotely, I found myself feeling disconnected and lonely. These feelings were compounded when I was laid off during the tech recession of late 2022.

So, I started 2023 with a word that I hoped would guide me through the new year: connection. When a dear friend, a St. Francis House director, reached out in early January and asked if I had time to help on Tuesdays at St. Francis House, it was as if the universe was answering my call.

I love the mission of St. Francis House to help people in our community with their basic needs and to serve them with dignity and respect. I don’t often share with people that my older brother suffered from drug addition and mental illness and spent several years wandering across the country homeless before he passed away at 35 years old. I know in some ways that volunteering at St. Francis House is filling the space where that grief lives.

What caught me by surprise was just how much my time at St. Francis House has given back to me. This work has brought me joy, greater purpose, new friendships, a respite from the stress of daily life, and a better understanding and appreciation of our community.   

What St. Francis House seeks to do benefits us all. It is the belief that all humans have inherent worth and deserve basic rights and equitable treatment. I am grateful to the wonderful St. Francis House volunteers for allowing me to put that principle into action, whether it’s serving a cup of hot coffee or a sandwich, sorting donations, or helping our clients find new clothes and necessary items for day-to-day living. I truly hope it makes a difference in their lives. It certainly has in mine.

Profound, yet simple, these words from the Prayer of St. Francis have taken on new meaning: “For it is in giving that we receive.”

Leigha Bone

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