A Lot To Be Thankful For: The Gensler Group Serves The Homeless Of San Diego - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado Home And Business

A Lot To Be Thankful For: The Gensler Group Serves The Homeless Of San Diego

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Posted: Thursday, December 26, 2019 9:57 am

On Thursday, Nov. 21, the Gensler Group entered Father Joe’s Villages as a team with the expectation to serve warm meals to the residents and homeless of San Diego. What they didn’t expect to experience was being on the receiving end of it as well and leaving with an experience that was equally as impactful as the trays of food they served.

St. Francis said it best, “For it is in giving that we receive,” and that’s exactly how the Gensler Group felt after serving dinner at Father Joe’s Villages.

Monique Jaramillo, Director of First Impressions explained, “Serving at Fr. Joe’s gave me insight and perspective on what a large population is experiencing in San Diego. It’s a reminder to remain grateful for all the blessings in life, no matter how large or small. It gave me the opportunity to listen and learn about a story that was different from my own. That, alone, was enough insight and perspective that all people should experience, or be more open to participate in”.

Eric Niergarth, CFP®, expressed that after interacting with the people at Father Joe’s, he realized that there are so many superfluous things in life that don’t attribute to our long-term health or happiness. “Seeing how appreciative and kind the residents were opened my eyes to the power of gratitude,” he said.

Father Joe’s Villages is a homeless shelter located in Downtown San Diego. It was established in 1950 to serve San Diegans experiencing homelessness and poverty. Since then it has grown to include a comprehensive campus and scattered-site programs that house over 2,000 people nightly.

According to Father Joes, at least 8,000 people are experiencing homelessness every night in San Diego. Of those individuals, nearly 4,500 men, women and children lie down to sleep each night on sidewalks, in doorways, canyons, and alleys. They live without regular access to food or water, and no place to use the bathroom, wash their hands, bathe or do laundry. People who are homeless are at greater risk of serious illness, mental health issues, substance abuse and violence.

This statistic was shocking to the team. Andy McNamara, CFP®, was mind boggled and responded, “As a new parent, it breaks my heart to think of all the parents in that situation. It makes my day-to-day stresses seem minuscule compared to the real physical and mental challenges some of the homeless face. It makes me grateful for places like Father Joe’s and all the work they do to help.

Despite the struggles and hardships that come with homelessness, the team couldn’t ignore the enormous amount of smiling faces and warm attitudes present in the cafeteria. Chaz Fahrner, CFP®, EA, delightfully expressed, “The smile on the faces of the individuals that are truly grateful for something as simple as a hot meal was the most rewarding part.”

Jaramillo added, “I really enjoyed interacting with each person, whether it was getting a plate of food or water for someone or simply having a conversation. I’m not exactly sure what some of these people are going through, but seeing smiles or having a good laugh was definitely the best part of the experience.”

The Gensler Group entered Father Joe’s Villages expecting to serve a meal, but left with an impactful experience. It’s easy to get lost in our day-to-day routine and overwhelmed by the chaos of the holidays. We work so hard to make things just right and forget the real purpose and meaning behind it all: to spend time with the ones we love and to give thanks for life’s many blessings. Remember, there’s no gift, tree, turkey, or pie that can replace the simple things or people in our lives. We hope our experience can remind you that when things get hectic, stop, take a breath, and be grateful for life’s many blessings.


The Gensler Group is a Registered Investment Advisor. Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/ SIPC.

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