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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Giving Back and Getting So Much More

Our girl scout troop volunteered today at the Soup Kitchen in a nearby town. It was our first experience doing community service in this capacity. It was actually my first experience also and I must admit I was a bit nervous and I think the girls were too. The place is not in the best location, obviously, and when we pulled into the parking lot there was already a line forming. It is one of those places that I would never pull into or get out of my car.....but I am so glad I did today.

This particular soup kitchen is supported by all the local churches in all the denominations. It is very heartwarming to see all the many faiths working together to help the community. Our church works the 4th Sunday of every month and we provide all the food for that day. Meals are served daily, with different churches/organizations donating food and services. The menu today consisted of milk or coffee, a sandwich, soup, rolls, and a dessert. We also gave a "second sandwich" to go, which we wrapped for them.

We had an hour of prep time to prepare all the food. The meal was served for one hour and fifteen minutes and then the doors were closed for the day.

I was extremely impressed with the organization, the respect, the politeness, and the kindness. We served 216 meals today and I only had one person who was rude. There were homeless people, people with mental illnesses, black people, white people, Asian people, Hispanic people, older people, men, women, and children of all ages and colors. The children pulled at my heart strings, I knew they would. The young father who got milk for him and his toddler son and then poured both milks in his son's bottle pulled at my heart strings. The young couple with 3 young daughters who had the best manners pulled at my heart strings. The older gentleman with one tooth and a dirty, ripped jacket who told me I poured the best cup of coffee he had ever had pulled at my heart strings. The older lady who thanked me for giving her a meal today pulled at my heart strings. The teenagers who I would have avoided on the street, who called me Ma'am and said please and thank you pulled at my heart strings.

I was very proud of our girls today. They served all these people with love and kindness, gave them some dignity, looked them in the eye and realized they are just people. People who are not as fortunate as they are maybe, but people like them just the same. I think our girls grew a bit today, I know I did.

This Soup Kitchen served 5400 meals last month. The number is slowly rising as our economy worsens. They have a minimal budget and rely heavily on donations. If you have the means or the time I am sure you have a soup kitchen in your community that needs help. We will definitely be back.

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