Friday, September 7, 2012

Day 36 - Step one of serving at a food bank.

So... although you are not required to, I have been trying to do my deeds in order; but as hard as it may seem some are pretty difficult to do right away. One of the deed's I had to skip in the beginning of August was to "serve food at a food bank", yeah it sounded easy, I googled every single food bank in Miami and/or near Miami and all of them (I called over 10) required you attend an orientation before volunteering with them, simple right? No, not that easy because they only hold orientations once a month and on a certain date and time. Not to mention that they would also have to approve your application and make sure you have no background crimes and/or felonies, etc. Who would have thought it would be that difficult to volunteer. Even though, now that I reflect on it, it's the way it should be because you don't want a felon or criminal working at your establishment with your clients.

Anyways, out of all the places I researched there are two big, remarkable, well known centers in which I chose to affiliate myself and volunteer with, Camillus House and  Miami Rescue Mission. They called me back and I set up meetings and orientations with them this month so that I could proceed with serving food at their food banks and working with them in other areas where they could use my help.

Today was my orientation at Camillus House, a shelter that was founded more than 50 years ago. Me being there for not even an hour made me so excited to help and work with them. Their service is carried out with the deeply held belief that every human being is precious in the eyes of the Lord and deserves love, respect, and a chance to live a dignified life. They do more than offer a free meal, they also offer medical care, showers, drug treatment and most importantly a second chance to the desperate, the lonely, and the ones society left behind.

Many of their clients have nowhere else to go. They have no friends, no family, and no loved ones to help them. Camillus House becomes their family and gives them the support and hope that they need to begin the long, difficult transition to a new life and to become self-efficient. They even offer job training to those who don't have the experience or have ever worked.

Our orientation leader, an amazing young lady with a beautiful heart, Eileen told us about her experiences and how she had planned to volunteer with them one time only and how that one time turned into 4 years of volunteering and her now working with them. She said what lead her to come back we’re the people she met while serving, when she would hear these amazing peoples stories she just wanted to take them home, give them a place to live, food and a hug but she knew she couldn't, so instead she came back regularly to see them and volunteer with Camillus House whom she is now employed with. Another story she told us was about an un-named client who had a severe mental illness. He had been homeless for so long that when Camillus House gave him a home and place to stay with a brand new bed they noticed every time they would go into his room his bed was still not used and laying upwards on the wall. After some time of them asking him if he was using it he finally admitted that he had been sleeping on the balcony outside for the past month because he never knew what it felt like to sleep inside four walls on a bed. The story left me in shock and she advised us that most will, but she also said that it will make us want to give more of our love and more of our time.

In conclusion, I cannot wait until September 17th, 2012 after the application approval process so that I can start working with them. I will definitely be letting y'all know my experience and I hope that my involvement will inspire you to do the same and give back in your community. Have an amazing weekend and PAY IT FORWARD!! :)

This is a picture of Mother Teresa serving food at Camillus House in the 1960's; absolutely amazing!♥
"I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, only more love." - Mother Teresa

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