“Service above self.”

That’s the creed of Rotary International, and it’s a phrase that the local Allen Sunrise Rotary Club has taken to heart as evidenced by a recent act of kindness.

About a year and a half ago, The Samaritan Inn, a homeless shelter located in McKinney, gave a presentation to Allen Sunrise Rotary with information on how organizations such as theirs can adopt a long-term Samaritan Inn resident and furnish an apartment for them during an 18-month term.

The Inn provides short-term and long-term programs for those in need of their services. Short-term residents are set up on a six-month plan. At the conclusion of six months, if a resident qualifies and desires to move into an apartment, they are allowed 18 months during which time they’ll find employment, receive financial training through the Samaritan Inn to learn how to manage their money and save up to provide themselves with housing for when they leave the Inn.

What the Samaritan Inn asked of the Allen Sunrise Rotary Club was to furnish an apartment for a long-term resident. Paul Hendricks, president of the Allen Sunrise Rotary, said when an apartment became available over the holidays, the club agreed to take on the project.

“I think this is just a fine example of ‘service above self,’” he said. “We just think that it’s just the right thing to do in our community.”

Using money generated from their member dues, Hendricks and his team, in partnership with the Allen Noon Rotary Club, set about purchasing everything their adoptee would need: food, cookware, furniture, televisions, bedding, toiletries, drapes, cleaning supplies and a vacuum cleaner. Once the floors were cleaned and the walls were repainted and “there wasn’t a stitch of anything in it,” as Hendricks said, the Rotarians headed over to turn the house into a home.

Hendricks and some of the men even brought their wives in to decorate and give the place a woman’s touch.

“It was fantastic. It didn’t look like we’d been shopping at Goodwill; it looked like it came from somebody’s decorator,” Hendricks said.

The club had not met their adoptee until her move-in date, and she had not yet seen the apartment. Her reaction was strong, to say the least.

“There was not a dry eye – period,” Hendricks said. “She thought we were angels sent from heaven to take care of her. She was literally speechless. It took her 10 minutes before she could get anything out of her mouth.”

“It was just a great effort by the two clubs to be able to furnish someone a new home,” said Todd Harris, president and nine-year member of the Noon Rotary Club. “To know that was a part of the bridge between her being homeless and her new future and how that will transform her life … it’s gratifying to be a part of that.”

Hendricks said that the club will check in with her once a month to let her know she has friends in the community. He added the new resident has found a job and is acquiring the life skills she needs to be a productive member of the community. At the end of her 18-month stay at Samaritan Inn, she should have enough money saved up to move out on her own, Hendricks said.

But most importantly, Hendricks said, everything they furnished her with in the apartment now belongs to her – she’ll be able to move it with her to her new place.

“You probably remember the first time you moved into a house or an apartment and you had nothing. It’s really tough,” he said. “She will not have to, in theory, want for anything. She’ll have money that she’s saved, she’ll have life skills to know how to do business and she’ll have the initial equipment of a home to move into her own place.

“She’ll be able to go to any place that she can afford, and she is not walking around with her hands out looking for something,” Hendricks continued. “Everything that she needs to live on is right there.”

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