I'm not going to lie to you, everyone has a fear of the unknown, of not knowing what to expect so me going to the shelter did make me feel extremely un-easy, luckily, my little sister agreed and decided to volunteer and do this deed with me. Of course Miami traffic never allows you to get to most places on time and I was always raised that if you're not early to a meeting you're late so I was very aggravated when I got to the shelter at the time lunch was served instead of getting there 15 minutes early to prepare myself. Walking up and seeing the line going all the way out of the dining hall door, with all men made me more nervous than I have ever been.
After walking into the kitchen they quickly gave us a job to do, I must have "I love dessert" written all over my forehead because they immediately assigned me to serve cake slices, my little sister was in charge of handing out the juices and water. I couldn't help but notice everyone in the dining room staring at us like we we're aliens; the men looked more than shocked to see us working in the kitchen. It wasn't long until they started making conversation with us, each of them we're unique and different in their own ways. They all made us laugh and one thing is for sure, they we're ALL very respectful, polite and courteous.
I enjoyed this experience so much that I agreed to return next Saturday and serve lunch. Mainly what I learned from this deed is that not every homeless person is a druggie and/or alcoholic, they are real people who have had something devastating happen to them like getting laid off from a job and not having their degree, or have had an economic problem, or even worse they have a mental illness. I read an article from Chicago’s local newspaper the Chicago Tribune that says that studies have proven that the estimated 35,000 homeless people in Chicago are neither mentally ill nor alcoholic, but are driven to the streets and shelters by severe poverty.
It has been proven that volunteering your time to help others allows you to connect to your community and make it a better place and it is also a two-way street, it can benefit you and your family as much as the cause you choose to help. The help guide to volunteering opportunities gives you numerous reasons why volunteering your time can benefit you and your family. I encourage you to PLEASE give up a couple hours of one day this month of October and serve food at your local food bank, I promise that not only will you enjoy it but you will want to return and do it again.
My favorite role model and icon of all times is Mother Teresa, last year she said “We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread, but there are many more dying for a little love.” Go out there today and spread love because people will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel!!!♥