Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Beans and Bread

Kevin Gilmore
Dr. Ellis
September 16, 2008
Event Write-up #1

Going to Beans and Bread was probably the most meaningful community service acts I have ever participated in. Not only did it give me a sense of personal satisfaction, but it opened my eyes to other members of the Baltimore community and gave me a glimpse of what it was really like to live in poverty. I have participated in and performed countless community service acts throughout high school and even at Loyola and, this was by far the one experience to this day that I have actually learned and taken something truly meaningful from.
I participated in Habitat for Humanity in high school and also at Loyola. They were two enjoyable experiences, but I didn’t take that much away from either one. On my way to Beans and Bread I figured it would just be another regular community service project which I had heard about through flyers. Thinking it would look good on a resume and wanting to help out others in need, I decided to lend a helping hand and made my way down to Beans and Bread. Most of the students I was with I did not know previously, but I was open to making new friends. We prepared the food and made bagged lunches for people to take away with them to eat later on in the day. I did not know what to expect, for the morning seemed to be dragging on because of such an early start.
Members of the community started filing in and at first I had a weird feeling about serving them. I felt as though it was embarrassing to them to come in and receive a free meal. While there was a lull in the line of people I started talking to a man by the name of Brian. He began to ask me about current events in the news and what I thought about the Ravens for the upcoming football season. He then brought up how it was an awkward situation coming in for a free meal, but he just did not have enough money to make ends meat, and every little bit helped.
I got to thinking of how much better off the world would be if there was no such awkward or embarrassing tension with things like this. People should not be afraid to ask for help or to provide it. Brian made me realize that all these people coming in to the kitchen and eating were just the same as me, yet they had different situations in their life. Talking to each individual almost made everyone feel like a family, although no one was related or knew each other. We all seemed to be helping each other out as part of the human race, whether it was through small talk over food or just being around other people and knowing you are not alone. Sometimes people stumble in life and need others to help pick them back up.
The most beneficial part of my day was after everyone had come through and left. We then cleaned up and held a meeting to discuss and reflect on our day. The other Loyola students who started off as strangers dug deep into the experience during their day and what it had meant to them. It felt good to have helped other people and maybe because of my service that day their lives’ would be a bit easier. Father Linnane blessed all of us and talked about poverty, what a problem it was in Baltimore, and how Loyola has made great strides in the community.
People should not look at the homeless as needy or terrible people. We’re all the same in this world and going to Beans and Bread helped me to realize that. They just needed a helping hand and the more people we get to lend that hand, the better, Baltimore will eventually be. If I were in the same situation as they were, I too would hope that there would be someone willing to help me out. No one should be embarrassed or uncomfortable like I was before the day started. Unlike Habitat for Humanity or any other community service events I participated in, Beans and Bread gave me the one on one connection I needed to help understand what service was all about. I hope to go to the kitchen again soon, due to the fact that serving people is not that difficult, and could potentially make a huge difference in someone else’s life.

No comments: