My Important Duty

February 10, 2012
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As we board the big yellow bus, taking a 20-minute trip to a downtown Phoenix shelter, I

wondered what to expect. We pulled up to a very large campus, as big as my high school, with a

large crowd waiting outside, but I wondered what for. We entered a nice cozy room, and we all

signed in and splitted up into two groups. I was to go to the dining room, along with 10 maybe

15 others.

When we entered, my eyes blankly glared at the huge room. It was probably the biggest "dining

room" I had seen. Large banners sprawled throughout the building with religious quotes and

pictures, lots of tables sat around the room.. Now, for the first time, I could see what the dining

room at Saint Vincent De Paul looked like. After a few minutes wandering around, we found the

lady in charge. She and Mrs. Coronado, our teacher in charge, split us into groups to do a few

tasks. "You all need to put table clothes on the tables" said the lady in charge. Each table had a

folded blue table cloth. Some of them were rectangle on a circle table, some were faded from

lots of washing, and some were clearly too little to fit the table. From what I saw there was a

numerous amount tables, and I sincerely thought this would take quite a while, yet to my surprise

it went very swiftly, with all the volunteers helping. Then I came to thinking, about how fast it

would be to do all my household tasks, if my volunteer buddies came to my house...

But, as reality touched, I needed to focus on the duties at hand. We folded up tons of forks in

napkins, and vigilantly laid five at each table. We supplied cups as well. As the day went on,

and tasks were being finished as soon as it was announced, a younger girl about my age huddled

around us . She took charge in a flash, and was tough stuff. She assigned crucial roles for

whatever was to come. We at least had the chance to raise our hands for the tasks we wanted to


In my head, I planned to go to the kitchen and serve to the people. But, of course, that was

already taken by some older folks. "Salad bar" said the girl, and I looked near my friends to see if

they wanted to do it with me, but a group had already picked it. " Bingo", well to my expectation

that was gone in a flash. "Greeters", nobody raised their hands, and so my friend Amanda and

Dalia persuaded me to do it with them. We were sent off with quick directions of what was to


Well, I am not much of the listener, so I later asked Amanda what we were supposed to do. We

were given the task to greet the families, see how many will be dining with them, and sit them

down. Well easy enough I thought. Wrong. It was for the most part very chaotic, confusing, and

unorganized in the beginning. The families that came were extremely large. We had to shove

tables together, make sure there was enough utensils, apparently the five per table didn't cut it,

and supply needed chairs. Not to mention, 70% of the directions were in Spanish, a language I

am struggling with. Any number above 10 got my completely frazzled.

My original plans for the time at the shelter was to serve food! Instead, I am greeting a family,

finding how many will be eating, find a table, and repeat. For about an hour and half I probably

sat a million people! Each time, I pace back and forth to grab families sit them down, find

another family, sit them down, I glare at my friends at the bingo table relaxing, and calling off

numbers for their game. Jealous was the word in mind.

After tirelessly seating the tables, and everyone was nearly finished with the food. A few people

who I sat down for the dinner, approached me to say thanks. I was surprised and also happy.

It then occurred to me what I am doing for these families. Even though I was just a greeter,

probably forgotten by the staff at St. Vinnie's, I still remember that girl, and a few families.

Every day I am blessed to come home to a great family and house. Yet, with all the deadlines,

stresses, and just life in general, it's easy to forget basic luxuries.

And that night, fell asleep thinking of how grateful I am to be where I am. While, my day at St.

Vinnie was full of busy tasks, the most important duty is helping those in need. My classmates

and I fulfilled that duty as well that evening.

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