People in her neighborhood know Pat as the woman who always has a flower in her hair and a warm smile on her face.
More often than not, you can find her walking around her local building complex for low-income seniors in Washington, D.C. laden with supplies for them.
“She’s had a huge impact on the seniors in her community,” says the manager of the complex. “She just wants to help people.”
But Pat isn’t the only one offering her services to low-income seniors. She’s part of a nonprofit called Sarah’s Circle, which assists low-income senior women (as well as homeless women and those seeking refuge) who might be having a hard time making ends meet.
“I try to help as many seniors as I can because I know it’s very necessary,” explains Pat. “It’s very difficult when your income is very low, and you have to stretch it for food, medicines, and transportation.”
So she has a daily routine of going around to seniors in her community and asking if she can any run errands for them. Just by doing that, she’s developed special relationships with many.
“For the last five or six years or so, she’s been bringing me books from the library, and we’ve had a strong bond ever since then,” says Ms. Gamble, one of the seniors Pat helps.
She’s so much more than just a nice woman who runs errands — to some, she’s become as important as family.
“Without her, I don’t know what I’d do,” says Martha. “She’s just like a daughter to me. She’ll do anything for anybody. If you’re down, she’ll perk you up.”
The unfortunate reality is elderly people often continue to deteriorate over time, mentally and physically. And if they’re living on a scant budget, it can become harder and harder to afford necessities, like medications and healthy food. They may also need assistance just to get simple, daily chores done, and if they’re not quite ready for an aide, or at least not a full-time one, it can leave them at a major disadvantage when they’re on their own.
Pat and other volunteers like her at Sarah’s Circle do what they can to help fill in the gaps, and advocate for seniors when they can’t.
“We need people speaking out for seniors who are only trying to live just like everyone else,” says Pat.
But it’s less about a greater agenda for Pat — she mostly just wants to brighten peoples’ days, and help them keep moving forward. That’s what being kind means to her — giving a bit of yourself to others to make their lives a bit better.
It’s really the best advice anyone could offer.
“Try to put a smile on someone’s face everyday.”
Learn more about Pat and Sarah’s Circle in the video below: