Some may ask, “What does Quixote’s Garage DO?” It fills a vital role in our community. This is my account of what Quixote’s did for me.

I was fragile when I came to Quixote’s. I had been living with physical illness in very isolated housing and this, combined with arsenic poisoning from the property’s well water, affected my mental health. I needed a safe environment to heal.

Homeless on the street there are two emotions you struggle with: Fear of police targeting you and of other people targeting you because you’re poor and homeless. And alienation, because you feel alone. You also feel that many people consider you of low value due to your poverty. It is all too easy, inside, to agree with others who see you as worthless.

Quixote’s provided a place where I was known and welcomed. A place where fear could take a rest, where alienation became friendship. Though poor, we are treated with respect and concern. For guests, it is an island of peace and safety in a troubled world. A place where we can heal.

I found I loved helping other people I met there. Things lifted my heart: The smile of the man huddled in drenching rain when I said “Yes” to his request for a ride to his campsite. That smile was like a sunrise. So was the expression of the hungry man, living rough, when I shared a ham and other food at Easter, and he caught sight of better food than he had hoped for on display.

Quixote’s strengthened me in many ways to face my future. It taught me something about myself and what God wants of me. I am so grateful!

Recently, in Phoenix, I took food to a group of hungry people who very much reminded me of Quixote’s, as this small group had received food caringly over a period of time from Christian volunteers. The feeling of love was strong. One man said, “I go to the same church now that members of the group attend because when I’m around them, I feel I make the choice to go the good way, not the dark, bad way.

This is what Quixote’s offers. When you feel cared for it makes you feel worth something; you make more choices for life, not death. That gives you hope for your future. And being at Quixote’s awakened in me the love of being one of the people who bring caring, love and hope to the poor, and see them bloom over time like spring flowers.

—Elaine Sisler