Cerena Fain: Offering Her Heart Through Faithful Service

After Cerena Fain moved to Dallas seven years ago, she knew she wanted to volunteer. “I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for people who are underserved, those that don’t eat every day or always have a place to lay their heads and feel safe,” she shares. “I have been so abundantly blessed that I want everybody to have that.”

So, Cerena asked God, “Where do you need me to be?” He led her to the Well Community, and that day, she recalls, “I knew that it was a place that God was leading me to be.”

Since June 2018, Cerena has faithfully served at the Well’s Community Life Center, bringing eager hands, a willing heart and listening ears. She serves lunch, often leads the Bible study, helps with activities, offers hugs and washes dishes—as she says, “I just come in when I can come in, and I do what needs to be done.”

In all of the many ways Cerena serves, she gives Well Community members the gift of being seen and cared for. She recalls that when she was just getting started, Executive Director Alice Zaccarello emphasized the impact of just talking with and listening to members, and since then Cerena has seen the power of giving members her attention and ears. “They need that because most of the time people ignore them and pretend that they’re not there,” Cerena explains.

Cerena likens it to being at a restaurant when no one is taking your order, explaining that people who live with serious mental illnesses feel that way all the time. “They always feel invisible because people are scared of them.”

For individuals who often feel overlooked or shunned, Cerena’s kindness is incredibly powerful. “All I have is my heart that I can offer, and I care about them. I truly do. I love them because I see that any of us could be there. … I’ve been blessed, but they see themselves as blessed too … They have little, but yet they are generous with each other.”

Cerena calls to mind a time during the pandemic when she was helping to hand out lunches to members. “Everybody was especially in need during that time because a lot of the resources for the homeless were cut off,” she recalls. Yet members were giving to one another, offering clothing and things like shampoo from their own very limited supply.

“It reminds me of the story in the Bible where Jesus and his disciples were in the synagogue and they were watching people put money into the offering plate,” Cerena explains. “There was the poor woman who just put in a few small coins, and Jesus said she gave the most. And it reminds me of that because these people have very little, and yet they’re willing to share.”

She continues, “To me, that shows a confidence in God’s provision for us. They know they’re being cared for on some level, and they know that they will get what they need on some level. … It’s amazing to me that so many of these individuals are serving God in their own ways.”

This faith has surprised and blessed Cerena as she’s volunteered. “They do without so much that I’m used to. … They don’t have a lot of the comforts that we enjoy and probably take for granted, but they praise God for every single thing that they have.” She adds, “They’re lovely, lovely people. And I am blessed—beyond that. God sent me here.”

Cerena encourages others who haven’t yet volunteered at the Well to give it a try, “not just out of curiosity, but out of desire to serve God and to serve others. I mean, how else is a better way to serve God than by serving others? … Just open your heart, open your mind and know that these individuals have a whole lot to share.”

Cerena traces her own desire to serve God and others back to her upbringing. “My parents were strong advocates of helping others and strong Christians, and we were reminded that everybody is equal in God’s eyes,” she recalls. “We were put here to care for this beautiful creation, but also to care for each other. And that’s what we’re supposed to do.”

In light of Cerena’s care for Well Community members and faithful service, we were honored to present her with the 2024 Founders Award. This recognition is presented to someone who makes a difference through their service to the Well, usually a volunteer who makes a significant impact in the lives of our members through their time and kindness. Cerena has consistently and humbly made a difference at the Well week after week, year after year, and it was our joy to recognize her for her giving and willing spirit.

In spite of the many hours she has given at the Well Community, Cerena insists that she is the one who gets the bigger blessing. As she says, “They have done so much more for me that I could ever do for them.”

The Well Community offers numerous opportunities to volunteer, and we’d love to welcome you, your family or your church or civic group. Click here to learn more about ways to serve or email [email protected].

Posted in ,
Scroll to Top