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Serving 700 People and Talking to Lady

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"Ugh. I have to spend my time HERE?", I thought to myself as I hessitantly stepped out of the van. I was at Andre House, a homeless shelter, with Interact. Ths sun was setting, and the wind was whistling. "How do all these peolpe live with this kinda weather?", I couldn't help but wonder. I dragged my feet toward the man who was greeting us. Out of all the things I could be doing, I was stuck here. Homeless people were sitting on the benches... lining up an hour and a half before dinner. I felt like I was doing the right thing, but I didn't want to be doing it.


We walked through the doors and were welcomed by the other volunteers. Everyone was all smiley. Not knowing many people there, I stepped to the side. The guy in charge, Steve, met up with us. After a few minutes of introducing himself and Andre House, he started assigning jobs. He asked for four people. Unenthusiastically, I raised my shaking hand. My job was to shred chicken along with three other girls. Thinking to myself, "Ewww. This is disgusting!", I unwillingly reached for a piece of chicken. It felt wet and soggy.... so gross. The girls were shy, but friendly. They could tell that I never shredded chicken before. I was so used to my mom doing everything for me. I smiled at random strangers although I was not happy to be there. After what seemed like an hour, we were done.


People had formed cliques. Everyone was chatting and giggling. I over heard one lady say that tonight we would be feeding over seven hundred people. I truly smiled. It made me feel important.


Steve returned to assign more jobs before we served dinner. This time I had the job of being a waitress in the family dining room. The doors were flung open, and people rushed in line. As a waitress, I had to make sure everyone's cups were full, and that they were given anything they want. I set down a plate of food for a lady. She mumbled, "Can you get me some water? Thanks, sweetie." I nodded and replied, "You are welcome." I carefully walked to the table and picked up the pitcher of water. It felt so heavy. My palms were sweaty making the pitcher slippery. I managed to make it to the Lady without spilling any water. I watched as the water flowed into her cup. Remembering what Steve said about having a conversation with the guests, I uneasily sat down beside her. I asked her how she was doing and about herself in general. She shyly told me about her family. She longed for her daughter. They had gotten separated a few months before. Tears were building up in both our eyes. Sitting there, talking to a stranger, made me realize how much of a good deed I was doing. For the first time that night, I was glad that I was here. Lady really needed someone to talk to. That's all. Just to talk... to share her feelings. I smiled at her and wished her the best of luck. She was done with her food. She thanked me for listening and serving her. I smiled hugely and wholeheartedly responded, " You are very welcome!"


I felt amazing inside... like I had just won the best prize. I had a smile on my face for the rest of the night, even while we were cleaning up. We had to leave. I was a little disapointed that it went by so fast. I was so tired. I met up with my chicken stredding buddies; we walked out the door of Andre House. I felt so good that I had helped serve seven hundred meals and that I talked to Lady. It was the first time I had given up my time to help someone else.... and it was worth it.





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