For decades, the United Planning Organization has been helping and saving lives by offering child care, job placement, training and more to underserved populations in D.C.
One particular volunteer provides more than just food and resources.
Wanda Dudley gives hope to people who think life has dealt them an unbearable hand — because she once felt that way too.
Dudley told News4 that her husband was killed in 2015. Her oldest son died in 2018 from pneumonia. Last month, her youngest son, Richard, was shot and killed in Southeast, D.C. Only her middle son is still alive.
"It's a trial and tribulation I go through on a daily basis," Dudley said.
Ayana Bias, the director of volunteer services at UPO, says that pain may help forge a connection.
"She's genuine and sincere and then she's someone that people can relate to," Bias said.
But if you meet Dudley, you'd never know about the pain she carries.
"It's an unexplainable joy," she said. "When I come, people, they smile at me. And I don't come with my problems."
Her pain and depression disappear while she is serving, working to save the lives of others. Few of her clients may realize that they are helping her.