Poems by Darnell

Darnell with fellow volunteers

Darnell with fellow volunteers

Darnell has been with the Gathering for over a decade. The past few years, he has been a regular breakfast volunteer. You can see him most days stationed at trash and trays, cleaning up after the meal.

A couple days ago, Darnell shared some poetry with us. He has been working hard on his creative writing and wrote a couple of poems about the Gathering that he was willing to share. 

This first poem is about Darnell's strong faith that he enjoys sharing with others.

God’s Gift
Trust me you don’t have to think twice.
God’s gift to us all was the gift of life.
Yes God is up high above,
And another gift he gave us was love.
And at The Gathering we always give,
And that too is a gift from God, that helps us all live.
With time the way it is it can sometimes be tough,
But with the gift from God you never get enough.
If you really want a peace of mind,
Call on Jesus he’s not hard to find,
God will never in life let you down,
With Jesus in my life freedom I truly found.

Darnell wrote this second poem specifically for the Gathering. It is about what the Gathering means to him (and many others).

The Gathering
The Gathering feeds all that come,
And if you’re hungry, come and get some.
The Gathering helps with all kinds of things,
Oh what a joy on many faces the Gathering brings,
The Gathering helps everyone any way they can.
They don’t give up, united they stand.
The Gathering helps those that are in need,
They help me as much as possible, you’ll be pleased.
The Gathering is one of a kind
They are located on 9 and Wisconsin, not hard to find.
So if in the morning you need something to eat,
Go to the Gathering, their meals can’t be beat.
They give out clothing and medical supplies
So if you’re in need, give ‘em a try.

Thank you Darnell, not only for your skills as a volunteer, but for sharing your creativity and passion with us!

Mark Heffron and His Photography

I first met Mark in an Alterra coffee shop. The table I chose to sit at was far from the windows. Mark politely asked if we could relocate to a sunnier side of the coffee shop. After we relocated, Mark told me that he is “solar powered,” he draws his energy from sunlight, and light is very important to him. As I looked through some of his work, I could tell why: Mark is a talented photographer who places high importance on patterns of light and shadow. He has shared this light and talent with the Gathering in a number of ways over the past few years.

Mark has been involved in story-telling with the Gathering, offering his gifts and also volunteering with the Gathering’s breakfast program through his church, St. Mark’s Episcopal. Many of the beautiful photographs on our website and annual report were only possible because he volunteered his professional talents.

Mark told me, “You have to have a connection with your subject in order to photograph well.” Mark connects to different individuals and tries to capture each person’s experience in his photographs. In a society that has a tendency to stereotype and create groups, it is especially important for Mark to demonstrate unique personalities in his work. Mark told me, “Many people believe the homeless all have the same story, but everyone has a separate, distinct and interesting story. Through the photography I want to honor each individual.” 

Mark appreciates the Gathering for the unique atmosphere it brings. By providing choice in meals and services as needed, the Gathering is able to individualize the experience for guests. Through this individualization and the respect and dignity the Gathering offers, we hope to be able to listen to and appreciate our guests’ stories and that, as Mark puts it, “is an amazing gift.”