The Value of Giving
Seven years ago, Chrissy Walsh wanted to serve people in need with her young children after Christmas to instill the value of giving rather than receiving gifts. The Boston Rescue Mission welcomed her seven year old son and ten year old daughter to help out in the kitchen. As a person in extended recovery from substance abuse, the Mission’s objective appealed to Chrissy. She firmly believes that volunteering can help give back the support and love that was so freely given to her.
As a single mother Chrissy lacked the disposable income to financially contribute to the Mission, but she did have the time and energy to dedicate to the healing and recovery of Boston’s street community. Chrissy says homeless people and those in recovery need more than just financial support—they need engagement with volunteers, staff, and visitors of the Mission who treat them with respect and dignity without passing judgment.
Chrissy recalls a story of her son and his friends sitting with a young boy who came to the 3 o’clock community meal with his father. The boy seemed shy at first, but after chatting with Chrissy’s son and his friends, all of the boys were laughing hysterically over their shared meal. Chrissy recalls, “you know when kids do that laugh that is so deep and it’s like a giggle to their toes?” By the time the meal was over, the boys parted ways as if they were old friends. When Chrissy asked her son what was so funny, her son replied, “Oh, he didn’t speak any English.” Even so, they were able to form an unspoken bond that comes from realizing that we’re all brothers and sisters.
The seeds of community service took root in the minds of Chrissy’s children: her 14 year-old son is a coach for the Special Olympics and is the captain of a Tour de Cure team to benefit the American Diabetes Association. Her daughter is an artist involved in the Cape Ann Art Haven's art center for teens and adults by making the therapeutic power of art more accessible and affordable to the community of Gloucester.
When her son was offered community service hours for his service toward diabetes research, he didn’t understand what the head researcher meant. The researcher thought that he wasn’t familiar with community service, but he remarked, “I think I’ve done community service my whole life, my mother just didn’t let me take any credit for it.”
Chrissy replied, “If you get assigned community service to do, then the Mission is not the place for it, because that’s not why we do this!”
Everyone at the Boston Rescue Mission is grateful to Chrissy and her family for 7 years of compassion and support!