Roseville couple showers homeless with love

Call them a pair with a passion, both for each other and for the community. Don and Joyce Sweely were married 50 years ago on Oct. 29, 1955.

The Sweelys have volunteered together at the Roseville Corps for nearly 10 years, and have built quite a relationship with many of the homeless men and women who participate in The Salvation Army’s services.

“I’m ‘mom’ or ‘grandma,’” Joyce said. “They call me ‘pops,’” Don said.

So when the idea for a golden anniversary party came up, it wasn’t tough to come up with the guest list.

“I said they are the ones I wanted invited to a barbeque in the park,” Joyce said of the homeless and others who have found help and friendship through The Salvation Army.

The couple spends most of their volunteer time in The Salvation Army’s shower program. Through this program, dubbed “shower ministry,” area transients seeking a shower and possibly a change of clothes can come to The Salvation Army on Friday mornings and clean up.

Don and Joyce typically come around 7 a.m. Friday to make sure there are plenty of clean towels, soap, toiletries and clothes to provide.

“We don’t have a big income, but we do what we can,” said Joyce.

“We feel good doing stuff like that,” followed Don.

Captain Kris Potter, who serves with his wife, Captain Camie Potter, as Roseville corps officers, said the shower program thrives because of the work of the Sweelys, who he describes as “a pair with a passion.”

“The essence of the program is their loving kindness for people who might not take care of themselves,” he said.

—Kelly Gabel

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