Meet Kristin Marsden
PADS Shelter Site Volunteer
Here at PADS, we’re incredibly grateful to have the support of over 3,000 volunteers who make our work possible. We caught up with Kristin Marsden, who volunteers at our shelter site at First Presbyterian Church of Libertyville, to learn more about her experiences volunteering her time to support our neighbors experiencing homelessness.
What inspired you to become a PADS volunteer?
When we moved to Libertyville 21 years ago, my husband Dave & I joined First Presbyterian Church of Libertyville. We were looking for a way to get involved and were intrigued by the congregation’s PADS ministry. We started volunteering – just helping out at their shelter a couple of times per month. The existing site coordinator was a gentleman by the name of Bobby Lancaster. Bobby had a passion for homeless ministry and his passion inspired us. A few years into our involvement, Bobby was looking to retire and move away from Libertyville. Bobby tapped into Dave’s shared passion and convinced him to take over as site coordinator. Turns out Dave’s passion was also contagious as he continues to inspire others to get involved.
Tell us a little about your experience with PADS.
PADS has become a way of life for our family. From the time our daughters were toddlers, they would come to the site and help set up beds. At first we just brought them to help with the set-up. Eventually, as they grew older, they become regular fixtures at the site – helping to serve dinner, clean up, and playing with the guest’s children. Our girls often speak in front of the whole congregation as part of regular clothing drive and fundraising appeals. We’ve scheduled holidays and vacations around the PADS shelter. Quite simply, volunteering at PADS has allowed us to provide our children with a perfect example of living out our faith.
What is one thing that surprised you to learn about PADS?
I think the thing that has always surprised me is how routine the shelter life appears to be for some of the guests. This is most certainly my perspective looking in from the outside. Over the years, we have watched them form friendships with each other and friendly connections with us. They have their own community, it just happens to take place in a different shelter each night for seven months of the year.
What do you do for fun when you have downtime (most likely after shelter season!)?
Another passion that our family shares is golf! I’m happy to report that while Dave spends every Tuesday night between October and April at the shelter, come May he spends his Tuesdays on the golf course! I play on Monday and Thursday nights and we play with our youngest daughter on the weekends whenever possible!
Anything else you’d like to share?
Often, people comment on the time & energy that our family commits to PADS each season. But it truly takes a village. We have dedicated volunteers who show up every week to run the kitchen, manage the clothing distribution, play with the kids, and wash the dishes. And then there are the folks who will ALWAYS say yes when we ask them, yet again, to work a 11 PM- 3 AM shift or the ones that voluntarily come in each week to clean up the site from 5 – 7 AM before heading off to their regular jobs. The PADS shelter at First Pres is the result of literally hundreds of volunteers and a congregation that is dedicated to mission. Our family’s involvement is one of the greatest gifts we’ve ever been given. It’s a glimpse into the goodness of people in the midst of a very messed up world!
We’re incredibly thankful to families like the Marsdens who give so generously of their time to support our neighbors here in Lake County. Interested in getting involved? Check out our volunteer opportunities!