I want to show you a little bit of what life is like as a MissionCorps member at Maggie’s Place. Enter the On Duty Apron.
Actually, let me back up. Maggie’s Place is a community of many homes of hospitality for homeless pregnant women, each staffed by full-time, live-in volunteers called MissionCorps, who volunteer a year or more of service to live in solidarity with the moms that we serve. That’s right: we live in the homes, and we work in the homes. We bounce fussy babies to sleep and we watch movies in our PJ’s at night and we make sure there is enough food in the house. Our job as MissionCorps involves wearing many hats. We each have our own specific position that we are in charge of to keep the home running, as well as our duties of being a contact person for 1-2 moms at a time, and spending several shifts a week “on duty” at the house.
On duty? Like a police officer? Like a doctor being “on call?” Kind of. When you are on duty, you are the on-call person in the home for answering the phone, answering the door, responding to emergencies, getting the moms medication, receiving request forms, answering questions, giving tours…it’s a big job with lots of responsibilities. We can’t leave the house until our shift is over, someone has to be on duty 24/7, and we are usually on duty for either a day shift or an overnight shift. It can be hard to juggle so many responsibilities without losing things or scrambling around to get organized. Once I put the office phone in the refrigerator instead of putting the milk away and almost had a heart attack until I found it; another time, the volunteer on duty dropped the phone down the storm drain by our front yard by accident.
Here’s where the On Duty Apron comes in handy.
It’s kind of like a doctor’s white coat. You put on the apron, and suddenly you are the on duty person. It’s your uniform. And it’s also super handy. Each apron has several pockets, so for example I can keep the house phone, my cell phone, a notepad, a pen, a marker, my keys, a rosary, tax receipts, a snack, and anything else I want in there, completely handy. Even next to a storm drain.
It’s a new invention. It only entered our lives a couple of weeks ago when one MissionCorps had a brainwave and passed it along to each home. Our lives are pretty crazy, and inserting even such a little piece of calm as the On Duty Apron has been incredibly helpful. Think about a parent who is trying to raise 5 kids under the age of 10, and then someone hands him a baby with a dirty diaper and a ringing telephone and yells that the doorbell just rang, and then runs away. Then imagine that parent with Batman’s utility belt and you’ll kind of get the idea of how it feels to have an On Duty Apron. And if you can swallow all of that, then you kind of get the idea of what it’s like to be a MissionCorps member.
It’s a unique community. We serve women with broken hearts. We live where we work. We focus a lot of our energy on being intentional about loving each other. We give affirmations with bubbles and Goal Fish made of construction paper. We use words like “intentional” and “community” and “affirmation”. We eat a lot of fruit snacks. We often communicate with memes. We can generally be found wearing Birkenstocks and/or cardigans, and yeah, we wear aprons. And it’s one of the best communities you will ever find.
By Lucy Miller, a MissionCorps member