different eyes

I did the coolest thing Sunday afternoon. And by “cool” I don’t mean that I’m cool for doing it, but rather that it was a cool experience and I got to see life from a different point of view and that gave me pause.

I’m still doing the volunteering thing. I’ve delved into the social media of the wildlife rehab/education organization and am learning lots and becoming more involved with that, behind the scenes. I’m also keeping my eyes open for other opportunities that I’m naturally drawn to for whatever reason. Hunger and homelessness are two huge ones that I’m finding I have a passion for.

Sunday I volunteered with a local food project whose aim is to give access to healthy foods to the homeless and those living in poor communities. Along with three other volunteers, we made and bagged sandwiches, then loaded those on a food truck along with other snacks and fruit. We piled in the truck and drove to a run down hotel known to house indigent residents in an area plagued by crime, drugs, and prostitution. The line was long and the people swarmed us. They were each given a bag of food, some of them eating it right in the parking lot. I suspect it was the only meal many of them had eaten that day. I felt worst for the kids, and there were many.

I found myself thinking about them individually after the frenzy had died down and our food was gone. Each of these people living in that hotel have a story. Some reason for being there, some cause for being in that situation. What made them different from me? One man, a double amputee was in his wheelchair by the curb and waved his hands to get our attention. The food was going fast and he seemed anxious to catch our eye before it was all gone. We saw him and filled a bag for him and took it over. What had happened to him? Was he a veteran? Was he in some sort of accident? Did he have a medical condition that caused the loss of his legs?

I won’t venture too much, or at all, into the political-ness of this issue, although there is obviously a huge social component. What I find most interesting are the individual stories that these people hold. The turn of events that put them in this place, in this moment, living in a run down hotel in a crime ridden part of town standing in line to get a meal.

It could be me standing there. It could be any of us.

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