HELP! Send Water

January 20, 2010
I anxiously walked through the door of Andre House, holding my hands tightly together. It was my first time working with homeless people and I was absolutely clueless about how to act. Should I be sympathetic? Should I act like they are not homeless? I walked in there blindly.

I walked in bouncing, trying to get rid of my jitters but failing. They lead us into the back room to help prepare the food. Chopping the onions, I let the tears fall, helping me relieve my anxiety. I helped set up tables thinking about all the people that sat in these chairs: they were homeless. Once everything was set up and ready to be served, all the volunteers gathered in a circle and prayed. We prayed for those less fortunate than we are and we prayed that all the people that we didn't help that night sought help somewhere else. In unison, everyone said ‘Amen,’ then it was time to let the people in.

They all rushed through the doors, trying to be the first in line. One man eyed the food intently; he looked as if he could tackle everyone down just for one bite of potatoes. After most of the people settled down, I walked around refilling their water. Some people would ask me to refill their water after they had just taken a sip; others would seem afraid to ask for more. I was absolutely confused. Why were they shy to ask for more? Why did they keep asking for more when they had plenty of water in their cup? It never struck me that these people walked around the streets for hours without water. So many people like this walk around the streets without meals for days. I didn't realize that all these people at Andre House had nothing to go to, when they left, except back to the streets.

Seeing all of them tear at their food guessing it will be their last hot meal was just awful. Watching them all made me appreciate what I do have. It also made me want to volunteer more. Not just for homeless people but for children’s homes and animal shelters; anywhere that needs my help. To help others gave me this sense of peace; like helping people made me feel like I was giving something back.

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