Andre House Aftermath

January 18, 2011
By Anonymous

I scribbled my name on a piece of paper to sign up to help out for a shelter known as Andre House, which I wasn’t really looking forward to because I was overwhelmed and tired. At first I just looked at this trip as just a grade for my English class, but then decided it might be worthwhile. I arrived in my English class to board the small bus and head for the shelter. With my best friend next to me, who was so excited she was practically jumping out of her seat, and reassuring me that this will be an experience to remember. I smiled uneasily because I didn’t really know what to expect, so I just slouched down in my seat until we arrived.

We soon scurried off the bus eager to see what awaited us, but to our surprise a line of homeless had already formed and looked at us as we passed by. My dreading instantly turned into anxiousness to begin helping. Once we entered the doors there was a plethora of volunteers clanging dishes, preparing food and cleaning up those minor messes. One volunteer came up to our group of students and instructed us to begin wiping down tables and preparing the eating areas. We all grabbed a rag and began to clean the dirty faced tables.
Next, I was assigned to dress the silverware up with napkins and put them in a dressing room while they waited to get picked. After we completed this small task, two friends and I volunteered to hand out cups of water. Row after row we lined up white Styrofoam cups with ice and water, they looked like an army of soldiers ready to face on the rush of visitors. Once everything was filled, we began to see people flow in and begin to pair up a cup of water with their meal.

Even though we were busy striving to keep up with the constant filling, I heard every “Thank You” and smile that the person gave us as they passed by. I then began to think of how somebody could be so thankful for just a small meal and a cup of water. The types of people that showed up were of all kinds from different races to big and small, a few were even my age. This made me realize that not all people are as fortunate as others and that I should be grateful for even the simplest things that are given to me in my life. As the eating area slowly began to thin out, we began to clean up. After everything was cleaned and as we began to shake hands and say goodbye to the gracious volunteers, I felt a sense of hope.

The feeling of fulfillment as we left was unexplainable. While we drove down the street, my heart began to drop as I saw countless homeless people lay on the street, preparing for bed. Since the shelters for sleep were overflowed, they had no other choice but to rest on the cold pavement. I thought of the bed that waited for me with open arms at home and realized how selfish I had been before I came and never will I be that ungrateful again. My best friend was right, this was an experience I will remember forever and has inspired me to continue to help others throughout the rest of my life.

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