“Seniors, Have a Warm Winter”

On December 27 when the winter wind was cold, a warm breeze of love blew at an alley in Geoyeo-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul. For the senior citizens overwintering in coldness and loneliness, over 70 volunteers from the New Life Welfare Foundation came out to serve them. They repaired their places, and replaced wallpapers and laminated papers for floor and boiler as well as donating rice, instant noodles and coal briquettes. They had brought cleaning outfits, wallpapers, laminated papers for floor, wood, tools, paint and a new boiler, and started to work from early morning.

The places, which had been left ugly for a long time, began to be repaired. The roof of the senior citizen Lee Sang-o (75) leaked whenever it rained, and was already rotten; as soon as they touched it, it collapsed at once. The volunteers repaired the roof full of rotten wood and dust with new plywood and lumbers. He grabbed the hands of the volunteers who were cleaning up the house, and said in tears, “I was always worried that the roof might collapse. I cannot express my thanks enough for fixing it strong.”

At the place of the senior citizen Kim Jeong-sik (69), his old boiler was replaced with a new one. He had been sick from diabetes and disability, and the 10-year old boiler didn’t operate. He had stayed in a freezing room with a small heater. First, the volunteers took out the rusty old boiler leaking black filth, and installed a new one. He was very pleased to look into the room that was newly wallpapered by the volunteers. He also thanked them repeatedly, “Thank you, from today I can sleep warm in this clean house.”

The volunteers visited a senior citizen, O Chi-suk, who is 100 years old this year. They took out all the trash that filled her room, cleaned the household goods, replaced the old laminated papers for floor with a new one, and newly papered sliding doors. And they also repaired the broken door at the back of the place with new plywood and painted it. The senior citizen smiled with gratitude at the members, and the members wished her health, holding her hands.

The volunteers not only repaired 10 households, but also tried to comfort the senior citizens. A senior citizen, Won Hyeong-gi (83), who was lying alone, was moved as they cleaned her place and talked to her warmheartedly. She said, “I’ve been lonely and missed people so much. How good if every day is like today!” The members served the senior citizens with warm meals. The warmth of their love seemed to melt the coldness of the winter.

In the afternoon, Yang Dong-jeong, the head of Geoyeo 2-dong ward office of Songpa-gu, visited the volunteers who were working hard. He encouraged them, saying, “I truly appreciate the efforts of the volunteers from the New Life Welfare Foundation for doing great job instead of us. Your faces are shining bright probably because you are doing good deeds.” Kim Bo-seong the PR Ambassador of the New Life Welfare Foundation joined the volunteer service. He said that he was distressed after hearing the sad news about our neighbors in need, and that now he was happy to be part of this meaningful work at the end of the year. He enlivened the atmosphere of the volunteer service with his unique, powerful voice.

As the house-repair and cleaning up finished, coal briquettes and rice were delivered to the senior citizens. Shouting, “Yo-ho, yo-ho,” the volunteers delivered the coal briquettes, standing in a queue, and piled them in the places of the elders in order. Kim Bo-seong the New Life Welfare Foundation PR Ambassador and Yang Dong-jeong the head of ward office also delivered the coal briquettes, rice and instant noodles together with the members. The senior citizens smiled brightly, saying, “Now, we can overwinter without worry.”

All the service activities were completed at the sunset. PR Ambassador Kim Bo-seong complimented the spirit of volunteer service and solidarity of the members and said, “I’m happy and empowered since I can do good works with the members.” The volunteer members also smiled a happy smile at the thought that the senior citizens would have a warm winter. Though the faces of the members were stained with the black coal, they were more beautiful than anyone else in the world.