Ring! It's noon. The mid-day fire-alarm just sounded. I look out the window and see a line of people that runs out into the street. You might be wondering where I am. I'm at the Schenectady City Mission Soup Kitchen and it's lunch time. Now is the time the homeless come and eat; we cook. My youth ministry church group decided to go to the Soup Kitchen and serve the homeless. I didn't know what to expect. I never imagined there were so many homeless, hungry people in Schenectady. Noon is the time we start serving, and people start showing up at 11:00 a.m. When my group got there, we had to start preparing food. They had much to choose from, noodles, Jell-O, and Italian bread. Some people came back for seconds, and even though we're not supposed to, we gave them more.
At first when I saw these people I was scared. Some were old and some were really young. Everyone looked dirty and tired. I never thought homeless people lived where I lived. Even after we had closed, a mother knocked on our door and asked for some milk. We weren't quite sure what to do, then we saw her baby and we gave her a bottle with milk.
It felt rewarding to help so many people in need. When I got home, I felt really good. I knew that we helped a lot of people out. This new awareness changed my life. Now I give my old clothes to the Salvation Army, because I'm trying to help. fl
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.