Among all the needs that senior citizens have, cleaning seems to be the one constant. Cleaning is mostly recognized as the task that requires no specific skill set. “Who can’t clean?“ is a common assumption.
The students at the Institute of Global Outreach Developments, Intl. give several hours every week to community service. The volunteer opportunities range from landscaping, tutoring, administration work, cooking, building, and cleaning. We have a group of students that regularly visit a high-rise complex for low income seniors. They have seen the joy that an elderly resident experiences when the places she can’t reach are dusted or the floors he can’t manage to clean are swept and mopped.
Recently, the students learned that one of the residents of the senior citizen high-rise complex received a “Notice of FAILED Unit Inspection.” The elderly gentlemen, who had difficulty walking, had the Notice still unopened on his kitchen counter. He knew what it said. He knew that he had a due date in which to bring his apartment up to acceptable standards. He knew that if he failed the inspection, he would be evicted from the independent living complex. And, he knew that he wouldn’t be able to accomplish all that was required. So he sat in his chair, turned his face to the TV, had his Bible on the table next to him, and waited. When a team of students went to the high-rise complex, one of the administrators told Aimee Bryd about the man living on the 3rd floor who needed help. Four young ladies knocked on his apartment door and offered to help him clean. He showed Aimee the Notice still sitting on the counter. In order for him to pass inspection the sink, refrigerator, and stove needed to be cleaned. The floor required vacuuming, and toilet and tub needed cleaning. That was all. No major home repairs, no excessive clutter, no insect infestation -- just washing, vacuuming, and scrubbing.
With the Notice in hand and the elderly gentlemen watching them work, the Institute students transformed that small living space in matter of hours. The task of cleaning took on new meaning that day. They comforted an old man who was concerned about his future (could he stay in his apartment or have to find another place to live?) and learned that doing small tasks makes a big difference.
Maybe anyone can clean but those who do this kind of work with purpose and excellence are not just ‘anyone,” they are people who serve others motivated by the love of God.
“ Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as for the Lord and not for men” (Col 3:23).