On Friday, November 15, 2013, I volunteered with Campus Ministry and joined my peers on a Homeless Food Run. Not only did I organize food into bags and deliver them to people who truly deserved it, I was able to get to know the people I served with through prayer and simple conversation. In two hours, which seems like a relatively short amount of time, I connected not only with the Washington, D.C. community, but with my fellow students at Catholic University.
Delivering food to these people was such a rewarding experience and I definitely plan on continuing to donate my time to participate in the Homeless Food Runs. When we first met up with each other, we were given instructions by the supervisors. The instructions were clear: give each person one box with a set of utensils and talk to them. Understanding the protocol, we set off on our journey to Farragut North. When we were crossing the street to go into the park, I saw a huge amalgamation of people, standing firmly in anticipation. Then it dawned on me . . . they were waiting for us. I had no idea that these people depend on a mere group of college students with cafeteria food that we generally see as repulsive. We delivered about fifty boxes of food and it seems like they were gone in seconds. These people needed us. Some people might see taking care of the less fortunate as a burden or a responsibility, but I see it as a gift. Watching the huge grins that spread across people’s faces as I handed them the white box filled with Pryz food was the epitome of heartwarming. It also made me think, should I be as excited and grateful to the person who hands me the same white box in the Pryz? This experience truly opened my eyes to the poverty and neediness that exists in Washington D.C., my new home. However, I know that this destitution exists all over the world, even in places where you’d least expect it.
In my college essay that I wrote in my application to this university, I wrote about my call to help people and my first realization of poverty, which is normally overlooked by the whole of society. Three years ago, I went to Europe with my high school and in Paris, I learned that things are not simply black-and-white, as they do seem in the monotonous suburbs of New Jersey. Outside the Cathedral of Notre Dame, there was a beggar who was obviously deformed. I listened as other students were accusing him of faking his injuries and poverty. However, that was not the case. This man was suffering.
“In the middle of February, he sat on the cold flagstone in tattered shorts and a t-shirt, while I was bundled up in my garnet peacoat, scarf, and gloves. The thing that amazed me was that I was three thousand miles away from home, in a city that was revered for its beauty and allure, yet he was not affected by its charm. He was not phased by how magical the Eiffel Tower looks at night when its lights flicker and glisten. He did not care for the architecture of the exquisitely old buildings...