Why not? It's that simplest of rationales that got Christy Pickerill convinced to volunteer her time on a regular basis. While it took a little convincing initially, she eventually jumped in whole-heartedly, helping at the Harvey County Homeless Shelter and elsewhere around the community.
"I just love people. I enjoy helping them," Pickerill said. "It's just fun. I basically think I get more out of it then these people do. After doing some of this stuff, you really just walk away like, 'you know what, I helped someone get back on their feet.'"
Since 2007, Pickerill has been assisting at the homeless shelter, noting she tries to go at least once a week and usually makes it at least three times a month. It started as a way to help her church, as it required workers one week per quarter to help provide meals at the shelter.
Upon getting into it, Pickerill was hooked almost immediately by the ability to help in the simplest ways. Volunteering for the overnight shift like she does routinely, she gets to interact with people, help serve meals and even provide some of her own personal expertise to the shelter residents.
"Because I'm a hairdresser and various other things, I do help them with certain household things or facials or free hair cuts and whatever, if I can talk them into letting me do that," Pickerill said.
On top of helping at the homeless shelter, Pickerill also volunteers her time to her church (with Sunday school, the Bible Memory program, etc.) and just recently started with Episcopal Migration Ministries, which helps resettle legal refugees, usually from war-torn areas. For the latter, Pickerill has now been donating her time just over two months with tasks like getting relocated individuals to appointments, enrolling them in local programs or helping them shop for various amenities.
Generally, Pickerill said her faith motivates her to give her time to others, but she noted her parents were a big influence as well. At a young age, she noticed them trying to help people and instill the grace of God in their children so that they would take that with them wherever they went.
"Anywhere that I've lived, I try to pitch in how I can," Pickerill said.
Pickerill has been helping around Newton and Harvey County since moving to the area from her home state of Indiana a little over a decade ago. She met her husband in college and became attached to the area.
Through her volunteer service, she has also grown attached to people and it has opened her eyes to those who are in need. Many times, those who come through the homeless shelter have simply stumbled upon tough times financially or a particularly trying medical emergency that can put an undue amount of stress on a family. For the woman who works multiple jobs on top of her volunteerism, Pickerill is happy to be there for those individuals any way she can.
"I have just been honored to get to know people and to hear their stories," Pickerill said, "to do the little bit I can to try and give them a little bit of encouragement, or a pat on the back or advice, what little advice I might have."