Earnest Encounters

January 20, 2010
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As we pulled into the parking lot, my nerves began jumping in anticipation. The thought of doing something for the good of others felt honorable. I had done some volunteer work at shelters before and it was almost always the same routine. However, on this trip, we were going to throw a Halloween party for all of the children at the Phoenix Watkins Shelter. This is a place that accommodates homeless women and children.

We began setting up while the ever-increasing line of ravenous diners waited impatiently. When we were finally ready, the gentleman let them go like runners set off by the starting gun. Each person took their plate and responded kindly with a smile or "thank you."
After everyone finished their first round, many came back for more. As we placed more food on a woman's plate, she told us that this was the best meal they had ever served at the shelter. Although the food looked tantalizing, it was nothing more than roast beef, mashed potatoes, and salad. I began to feel my eyes swell up and my nose tingle. Her statement was so genuine and appreciative that it made me realize how grateful we should all be. The philosophy, "Never take anything for granted" is applied here. I found that appreciating every minute of life no matter how difficult the situation, is the way to live.
When we finished, we moved into the living quarters. The kids lined up to fill their pumpkins with sweets. Their smiles widened with every piece. It was obvious that this was a rare treat for them. Their cheerful grins were a reminder of why I came.
This was a humbling experience that I will always remember. I enjoyed talking to the adults as well as interacting with the kids. Volunteering at the shelter made me aware of how fortunate I am and the importance of volunteering. I strongly encouraging everyone to volunteer at a local shelter as it is a rewarding experience.





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