The Other Side This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

      It was the week before Christmas, but things were far from cheery. Our mission was to deliver as many boxes of food as possible to those in need in one of America’s most dangerous cities: Camden, New Jersey. There were no Christmas carolers strolling these streets that were lined with boarded-up houses and smashed windows. Mothers kept their children close as they hurried down the streets. It was mid-afternoon, but even the bright sun couldn’t warm this place.

Red tickets in the windows marked which houses we were to visit. Our white truck stopped in front of one townhouse and our group knocked on the door. In our arms were boxes stuffed with ham, bread and other essentials to make the perfect Christmas dinner. Four small faces peeked through the curtains and one exhausted mom answered the door. She seemed embarrassed to be caught in her nightgown with unkempt hair. She was in her mid-20s, but her rough skin and tired eyes added years.

“Sacred Heart food delivery service,” I squeaked with a smile. “Where can we put this for you?”

She pointed and as we entered the house, I noticed the conditions they lived in. The children scrambled around, wearing only diapers. There were no carpets, only cold concrete beneath our feet. There was no Christmas tree or decorations. My heart sank. It was so cold, and I found it hard to believe that this was reality for this family. We set the boxes down and the mother grabbed my hand.

“You don’t know how much of a blessing this is to me and my family,” she said, crying. “We are just getting by.” I opened my arms and gave her a hug.

“Happy Holidays!” I replied before I headed out the door. I realized how warm I felt inside.

This was unlike anything I had ever experienced. We cannot help what family we are born into, but we can help each other. Most know that poverty is an issue, but until you walk those streets and enter those cold homes, you will never really understand. Please, let’s help each other.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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writer-violistThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 27, 2015 at 12:00 pm
Awesome! Please keep writing and God bless! :)
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