Kirk Whalum, Grammy Award-winning saxophonist, started volunteering at Manna House, a place of radical hospitality for unsheltered guests, when he met its volunteer founder in seminary. Manna House seeks to welcome its guests from the streets with a spirit of hospitality that respects their dignity as human beings and includes offering basic services such as clothing, showers, hygiene items, coffee, water and electricity three days a week. Manna House is grounded in the spirit of the Catholic Worker Movement and is run by volunteers.
When the volunteer who had been serving as a barber at Manna House left in 2010, Kirk took on the job as a challenge to himself. He jokingly explains that he had watched a lot of hair cutting growing up but had to take special lessons when we was faced with cutting white people’s hair. Kirk has served as volunteer barber every week that he is in town since that time.
What he has learned is the importance of consistency. Of showing up and being with people. That is how he most fully experiences God.
He encourages people to spend time with and get to know homeless people before judging them. Hang out. Spend time understanding them. And experience God.