The Trading Post

Written by Chuck Hindman, Alliance Chair --

As people start to arrive at the Sleeping Center about 6pm, and then especially as quiet time nears at 10pm, a line of folks drop by the tiny gatehouse with requests. “Do you have a bandaid?” “My batteries are dead.” “I have a split lip and need some Neosporin.” “Are there any toothbrushes left?” And on days where the Angels don’t descend upon the Sleeping Center with much appreciated dinner, “Can I have a couple of packages of Ramen noodles?” At the Sleeping Center we have hot water and noodles to fix a makeshift meal and quell a roaring stomach. Some of the Alliance volunteers have begun to refer to the supply drawers in the gatehouse as “The Trading Post.”


Almost every summer for years, I led a church camp for a week. Settling down for the night at the Sleeping Center, although different in many ways, also has some commonality. Volunteers address a variety of little crises, giving reassurance as well as needed supplies. Whether it was for church kids or now for homeless adults, every camp needs caregivers.


In a materialistic culture that seems to be mostly about money and “stuff”. Here, the volunteers have the biggest impact. Our guests may be asking for things, but they are also asking for more than physical items. Although they may not say it, the most valuable commodity is someone who cares.

Volunteers at the Alliance for the Homeless Sleeping Center Walla Walla, WA
At the Sleeping Center, the most valuable commodity is someone who cares

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