The Turkey Hall

January 18, 2011
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There was a loud chattering when I arrived in the musty building. The smell of what seemed to be urine and the smell of the food that was being served transfused into one awful overdose. I thought to myself why I had gone to this place in the first place. This all began as just a way for me to get community service hours for a class: however, I hoped that, like others, that I would have some sort of epiphany that would make me just “LOVE” community service.
I concluded that I would close my mouth as we served, as I have a meager sense of smell. Even before we started, the lines were filled. Needless to say, we were bombarded with people once we were open for business. I had turkey duty. I, truthfully, never imagined that so many people liked turkey. I knew we had some more in the back, but I pondered what all these meat lovers would do once we ran out. As a school cafeteria worker, I knew what to do when specific products ran out, give them the rest of their options; however, I felt badly for these hard off individuals, I did not want to turn down what they wanted. You see, despite their smell, the individuals using the dining room to their advantage actually seemed like pretty decent people. As I served the individuals their turkey, every so often I would receive a smile or “Thank You” in exchange. This is, more than likely, what made me forgot about the awful, urine infested smell. When the turkey’s long run was finally exhausted, the first individual who I had to tell that we … ran out of turkey … was an older man who I half expected to drop the “F-Bomb.” His only reply was, “Man”, accompanied with a slight smirk, followed with, “alright” and he moved on. I was astounded by how quick and non-repulsive his response was.
That was my first lesson about the less fortunate, “Don’t assume that all homeless people are like the rude beggars on the street.” The majority of them are polite and harmless. I know that whenever I am taking the bus and a homeless person asks me for money I am hesitant. This is not only because of them being rude while asking, it is also united with the fact that I do not know what they are going to use that money for. However, or now on, if a person similar to that old gentleman I met at St. Vincent de Paul’s Dining Room asks me for money, hesitation will no longer exist. If I have the money, they are getting it.
My classmates, however, seemed to have a less enjoyable experience. It seemed as if everyone was either complaining about the smell of the dining room, how rude the homeless people were, or a combination of the two. I honestly lost my sense of smell shortly after starting, so I was fine. Also, I only experienced people’s smiles and gratitude as they received their turkey, so I had no comprehension of the experience they were discussing. As we were heading back to our school on the bus, I recollected my thoughts about the occasion I experienced that day. Did this make me “LOVE” community service, or was this just a way to get my service hours? I have to admit that the answer was neither of the two options I gave myself. The real answer is that this was an excellent experience that I may partake in again in the future and a marvelous stepping-stone into the world of community service.

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