Invitation for the Hungry

January 20, 2010
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Three-fifteen in the afternoon, I walked into Ms. Green’s emptied room with anxiety and about to leave for Andre House feeling butterflies at the bottom of my gut. This would be the first time I was going to feed the homeless and less fortunate. Consumed by fear and acknowledging the possibilities I might get mugged by one of the homeless there. I had the mentality that the homeless were dirty, uneducated, and worst of all criminals. As the van departed from school, my experience began.

With a van full of juvenile students, we arrived at a building in down town phoenix. A couple of blocks away were the luxurious skyscrapers surrounded and in the impoverished neighborhood there stand the worth down building. We enter a gigantic kitchen with many elderly people preparing food. After sanitation and putting on gloves, we proceeded to a small room cover by a mural depicting the local Latino culture with vibrant colors. Handling a heavy stainless steel knife as sharp as a razor made my hand tremble in matter of seconds. As the week before, I slice my finger cutting fruits. Now I had to cut melons in small portions and soon after the teary eye causing onions.

The organizers assign new roles and Sage and I got to be the plate smashers. The duty of the plate smasher was to receive the emptied plates and smash the excess food into a trash can. What a weird task? Sage controlled the right trash can while a handled the right one but helped each other incase of heavy traffic occurred. Every time someone finished their food, which by the way was burritos since it was burrito day, we would take your plate. In addition, we said thanks for coming and to have a good day like storekeepers do. In return some of them gave a smile. We must have collected hundreds of plates in total. We could have built a tower to the moon and back. For 3 hours we stood by the trash can and openly received the once hungry homeless.

At the end of the day I was tired but the smiles of the people there made up for it. As Ms.Green would say I had an epiphany. My stereotype of the homeless had definitely changed. I thought they were people who smelled, looked dirty, were uneducated, and criminals. But it had all changed during the time I was cleaning up. Most of the homeless looked clean and one of them was even wearing a suit. The idea about being uneducated and criminals may be true; I had to consider that these people had not received a proper education because of their condition.

Never again will I judge people on their social status. I found out that if I were a homeless I would not like people viewing me as I viewed them. Instead of judging others and criticizing them, we should go and help them out a bit. This will at least will fill their stomachs with food and quench their thirst with clean water. As my mom says it’s good to help those in need because someday you might be the one in need.





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