Do Something Good: Karen Andro’s homeless outreach touches hearts

Do Something Good: Karen Andro’s homeless outreach touches hearts

For Karen Andro, helping Madison’s homeless is anything but a chore.

“For me, my heart sees, hears, feels, responds to suffering,” she said. “I don’t have a lot of patience for unmet needs.”

Andro does homeless outreach with First United Methodist Church downtown, and is thought of by many as the go-to person for supporting the homeless community.

On Wednesdays, Karen leads volunteers and church members in organizing a community breakfast and support gathering for the homeless. Attendees can also join a ‘come as you are’ worship.

“You can see shoulders more relaxed, people coming in with bags and trash bags of belongings, feeling like they’re OK,” said Andro.

Representatives from organizations and agencies also attend the events to provide assistance to anyone who wants it.

Andro has become a guide and guardian to this community, acting as a bridge of help and hope connecting to those who are homeless.

“This church is like my family now, and I’d do anything for Karen. I’d do anything for this church,” said John Haines, who volunteers with First United Methodist.

Her impact is felt even stronger by those she helps.

“We was days from committing suicide and we came here for help,” said Ron, a Madison resident who was previously homeless. “We was going to do it together. We overcame that, thanks to Karen Andro.”

Providing a meal can do more than just get someone who needs it most through the day. In Karen Andro’s case, it can nourish the body, mind and soul.