Thursday Showers Are Staffed by a “Saint”
To family, friends, and neighbors, she’s Claire Hubel – a mother, wife, and down-to-earth Mountain View resident with a proper British accent. But to the homeless men and women who come to Hope’s Corner on Thursdays to shower, she’s “Saint Claire”, one of the most dedicated and involved volunteers that Hope’s Corner has.
Claire started volunteering at Hope’s Corner about two years ago. “I fell in love with it”, she says. “Now I’m there just about every Thursday. If I don’t go to Hope’s Corner, I’m bummed.” Although she volunteers for other organizations, she says, “Hope’s Corner is special!”
Saying that Claire cares a bit about the people she helps at Hope’s Corner is like saying a mother cares a bit about her children. Claire is heavily invested in the homeless men and women at Hope’s Corner, who she considers friends and a central part of her life. She treats all of them as appreciated guests, with smiles, hugs, and respect.
Claire’s “official” volunteer hours are Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., when she and her friend Renee Hinson schedule time slots for showers, clean the showers after each use, and distribute towels, toiletries, and undergarments. However, Claire does much more afterward. For some guests, she has allowed them to use her home address to receive mail. For others, she’s visited them in the hospital, helped them fill out applications for housing, and worked with them to create budgets. Claire has even helped one guest rid his car of bed bugs and fleas and accompanied another guest to a Beach Boy’s concert.
“I’ve sort of gotten pulled in, but I’m learning to set limits.”
One of the regulars on Thursday says, “Our lives wouldn’t be the same without Claire because she gives us the simple that we need. She taught me how to sew. Every time I see her, she gives me a hug. She always has this high-pitched voice that shows she’s happy. A person is never ashamed to come to her with dirty clothes or a smudged face or a two-week old beard. She just embraces you. She takes time to look at you and see you.”
Like most volunteers, Claire started helping at Hope’s Corner to try to make a difference. However, she says she’s gotten back much more than she expected. “I like the way they treat me. There’s nothing superficial, just a real connection. I feel valued for who am, which feels good.” She continues, “I try to treat all of the people respectfully and kindly and let them know that on Thursdays they can be themselves with no judgment.”