As I write this, it is Thursday. Earlier this week, on Monday morning, one of our guests stuck her head inside the office door, handed Dan and me some bookmarks she had made from beads and me and said, “ I just want you to know what a wonderful place this is. Your staff is so understanding and kind. I don’t know what I would have done without this place.” Dan and I looked at each other and I said, “I think there is a story here.” Our guest looked at my Starbucks coffee cup and said, “It’ll cost you something from Starbucks with chocolate and caramel in it.” I agreed and this morning, our guest Lorrie Ludwick and I sat down for a talk about why Lorrie is here and why she said what she said on Monday.
Lorrie lives on a farm outside of Lynnville, Iowa. Lynnville is a small community with about 300 people in it. The last couple of months have been very difficult for her. She found out a few weeks ago that her daughter, who lives in Colorado, had breast cancer and three weeks ago had a double mastectomy. Lorrie went to Colorado to help with the children and support her daughter. Her daughter is doing well and last week Lorrie left Colorado to come to Sacramento to support her sister, Lois who is being treated for cancer and has been at UC Davis Medical Center since October. Lorrie is a return guest of Kiwanis Family House, having flown out here in January to support her sister.
Lorrie will be flying back to Iowa next week. I asked her what she liked best about Kiwanis Family House.
“There are so many things…”, she said. “ I don’t need a rental car because I can use the shuttle. You have food here. These socks I am wearing right now came from your clothes closet. When I left my daughter’s house to come here, all of my black socks were left behind. My daughter had mistakenly assumed that the black ones belonged to her husband when she was sorting the laundry. I am a black socks kind of person, so these are perfect for me. “
“I couldn’t afford $50 per night, so you have worked with me on that to make my stay affordable. To sum it all up, Kiwanis Family House provides for my every need. Affordability, transportation, a comfortable bed, food, shower, toiletries… from head to toe I am covered. The camaraderie of the guests supporting each other creates such a wonderful environment for relieving the anxiety we are all under, and most of all, I just love your kind staff. Just thinking about them gives me goose bumps. Your staff is at a five star level of kindness and support. “
“Thanks for the coffee”, she said as she sipped on a Caramel Macchiato. “It was worth every penny and you are most welcome,” I replied.