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The Color of Happiness

“Oh no!” These were the first words I said as I walked into André House, a Phoenix homeless kitchen. I did not know what I had gotten myself into, and I was instantly looking for a way out. When we first pulled in, the place appeared to be a small crowded little kitchen with pots and people flying all over the place. But little did I know the miracles that tiny little kitchen did for some people.

The first thing we did was cut tomatoes for the meal we would be serving. I couldn’t even picture myself, a 185-pound football player, cutting up tomatoes into tiny squares; but there I was, and having a fun time doing it too, meeting new people and talking to them about past experiences. I never knew just how much you could learn from someone by just standing next to them and cutting vegetables.

After all the food was cut up and prepared, all the volunteers were called into a little room, and we were told a small prayer would be said. At this point I began to realize that just like God, all the volunteers and I would be doing miracles for some people that night. We were all assigned jobs. I was assigned to serve salad and didn’t know what to expect, I was as clueless as a child. When the doors first opened, and people began pouring in by the masses, I was overwhelmed, and got so sad and felt so bad that I almost broke down because I felt I couldn’t handle it; this being very strange, me being the big tough football player I felt as small as a baby. These people were coming here to eat because they couldn’t provide for themselves; all they owned was on their backs. We were told to ask if they wanted salad, and if they said yes we were to give them a certain proportion. This was probably the hardest thing I ever did and didn’t do it very well because every time I asked and they responded yes, I would grab handle full upon handfuls of food because I wanted to give them all I could, knowing that this could be the only meal they had had all day.

The one thing I couldn’t understand the whole time I was there was how most of these people were so happy. I couldn’t quite get it through my head how they were homeless, and owned nothing but still they were happy as can be. At this point I realized that happiness is not due to what you own or what you have. It does not come from how much your car cost, or how much your pants cost. It didn’t come from having the most expensive clothes or the biggest house, no, nothing like this; it came from the feeling of being loved and knowing that somebody cared. Giving these people food was doing more than feeding them for the night, but giving them hope that there was still good people in this world that cared and wanted to help.

After my experience at Andre House, I look at life differently. Having the best shoes or having money is not the most important thing anymore. The most important thing is being there for people and helping when I can.





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