The Intermittent Volunteer’s Weblog

Befriending People in Dallas Who Are Homeless

About This Blog February 13, 2008

I’m publishing, bit by bit on this blog, the contents of a journal I’ve kept (intermittently!) since 2003, when I first began volunteering to serve food from mobile soup kitchens to people in Dallas who are homeless.


My purpose in doing this is to share my experiences — which have been rich, moving, and, at times, challenging — and to help other people who are ‘housed’ to understand a little of the lives of some of the people I’ve met on the street, as I interpret them.


Though I strive to get beneath the surface of the street culture, my perspective here is admittedly — and could only be — that of an outsider, because I am fortunate enough to have always had a home and a supportive family network. Most of the people I’ve met who are homeless do not have such benefits.


I try to bear in mind that I cannot speak for their experiences but only of MY experience of knowing them. When I enter their world as a ‘volunteer’ I am, at best, a friend, but also, in some sense, an intruder.


Since I began, I’ve also developed an interest in collecting and distributing warm, dry clothing to people on the street, as, having many times seen individuals spend days on end in wet socks (or no socks) when the weather was subfreezing, this seems a small but important thing to do. Even if people are being fed, there seems to be this ever-present need, and, being a comfort-lover myself, I relate to it.


Thanks for reading and, I hope, commenting!


Karen Shafer



7 Responses to “About This Blog”

  1. Karen Hasty Says:


    What an eloquent a voice for the homeless. I was touched and felt a push to do something so meaningful in my life. Maybe when I retire-hopefully soon.

    I would like to propose a reunion for you, me and the girls (Mandy, Rose, Joanna) and their families soon. Memphis is May is a festival month. I have room for all. Would you consider visiting here? i would love to see you all and catch up.


  2. Karen Shafer Says:

    How awesome to hear from my ‘oldest’ friend!!! OK, not really ‘oldest’ — you know what I mean!

    Yes, we would love to come to Memphis in May and stay in your posh house! Better than a luxury hotel (hate to say it, but cheaper, too!)

    Love you!

  3. carlos gomez Says:

    Hello Keran, just want to say I love your web site. and thank God for what you are doing. may the LORD keep you in His peace and love.
    Sincerely Carlos

  4. Karen Shafer Says:

    Thanks, Carlos, for taking the time to read and post! Keep coming back!


  5. Pat Spradley Says:

    I like your post “Successes at the Bridge” and would like to include it in the next issue of Street Zine. With all of the negative publicity we are hearing and seeing right now it would be great to hear about the more positive outcomes. Would you mind if I do that crediting you and your blog?

  6. Karen Shafer Says:

    Pat, I would be deeply honored to have you do this. Street Zine is one of my favorite publications. It is excellent and informative. It’s a privilege to be included! Karen

  7. Karen, I love your Blog! I have added a link to it on my website.
    Thank you for featuring my photos!


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