Senate District 6 Unsung Hero
Loaves & Fishes Staff Member
Sister Libby Fernandez, the Executive Director of Sacramento Loaves & Fishes who has been serving Sacramento's homeless community for over 25 years, nominated Molly Simones as the District 6 Unsung Hero. It's easy to see why. When Molly moved to Sacramento more than five years ago, right after graduating college in Wisconsin, one of her first stops was the homeless shelter, Loaves and Fishes to give back to a community that she did not even know. Molly has remained a constant and bright presence at Friendship Park in Loaves & Fishes since she arrived in town and works tirelessly to help people receive some of the most basic needs of survival. Molly puts on a brave face every day and honors each homeless man, woman and child who walks through the gates with a smile, knowing that they have been handed the most difficult of circumstances.
Tell us a little about yourself:
I grew up in Wisconsin, but moved to Sacramento as a member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, through which I was assigned to work at Friendship Park, a program of Loaves & Fishes, in exchange for room and board. I was planning to stay for just the one year I had committed to, but found that Loaves & Fishes and Sacramento grew on me. After my volunteer year was over, I accepted a regular position at Friendship Park and have now been here for about 5 ½ years.
How are you making a difference in your community?
Friendship Park offers many services, but is most importantly a place of welcome and rest for men and women experiencing homelessness. I think perhaps the most important part of my job is to form relationships with our guests without any expectation from them in order to offer a space for healing. People need to feel safe before they can think about making changes in their lives.
What inspires your community efforts?
I am inspired by both the guests that we serve at Loaves & Fishes everyday and the staff with whom I work. The guests are so resilient, and the staff is here because they truly believe in the work we do.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I will be starting physician assistant school this summer, and I am proud of myself for getting into school and for taking a risk by leaving such a great job for something new and unknown.
What have you struggled most with in your life?
I believe that I have the ability to make a difference (for the good) in this world, but sometimes this is hard to remember, especially when dealing with such overwhelming issues such as homelessness and poverty. It can be hard to stay optimistic.
If there is one problem in our community that you wish you could fix, what would it be?
We see a lot of elderly people at Loaves & Fishes, which just breaks my heart. More than half of our guests are over the age of 50, but we frequently see people in their late sixties and seventies. We've even had a guest who was over 90. I think this is such a shame, and I wish we had more resources for our seniors.
How do you decompress?
If I'm motivated enough, the best way for me to decompress is to go for a run. If not that, I enjoy reading and quilting.