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Volunteer Leah Perez: Healing Takes on Deeper Meaning

April 19, 2023

April is Global Volunteer Month, a time to celebrate everyone who is working to make a positive difference in their communities. This month, we’ll be shining a spotlight on the heartbeat of St. Anthony’s, our incredible volunteers. We want to recognize the 4,000+ volunteers we depend on annually to make our work possible uplifting those most in need 365 days a year.

Tell us about yourself.
My name is Leah, and I’m one of the volunteers in the Free Clothing Program. I am a Bay Area native, and I moved to San Francisco for college, where I recently received my Bachelor’s degree in Biology. I love living in this diverse city and helping my community in any way I can.

What made you start volunteering?
I went on a field trip to St. Anthony’s back in high school, and I saw the need to help people who were homeless. I came back to volunteer as an adult because I felt like it has always been my calling to serve others, and I value how St. Anthony’s Free Clothing Program can provide clothing to individuals and families.

What keeps you volunteering at St. Anthony’s?
I love getting to know people’s unique life stories and learning more about myself through volunteering. For example, individuals and families can shop in our store for 30 minutes, so within those 30 minutes, I get super invested in making sure that I find what they are looking for. We get a lot of people who are looking for specific things, like tennis shoes or job interview outfits, so being able to listen to what they want and give it to them, has been such a blessing.

I love getting to know people’s unique life stories and learning more about myself through volunteering.

Leah Perez

How has volunteering impacted you?
It has allowed me to communicate, learn, and appreciate the many-diverse communities in San Francisco. So many different people come into the store, and it made me realize this is the type of community that I want to serve when I become a doctor. I love sharing my experience with family and friends, and it even encourages them to donate their clothes. 

Of St. Anthony’s Five Values (Community, Gratitude, Healing, Personalism, Justice), is there one that stands out most to you?
I align with all of St. Anthony’s values, but healing stands out the most to me. I have met so many people at St. Anthony’s who are experiencing homelessness and poverty. I hear about their spiritual, emotional, and physical struggles, and I want to help them as much as I can. At the moment, I can heal them by finding them a comfortable pair of shoes, a coat for the unpredictable rainy weather, or the right size pair of pants. In the future, I hope I can get the opportunity to heal and advocate for this community when I become a doctor.

St. Anthony Foundation offers several volunteer opportunities for individuals and groups. For more information about volunteering, click the link HERE, and to view volunteer opportunities, click HERE.

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