Tuesday, November 11, 2008


On Saturday, November 8th, I volunteered at CARE’s Pantry on York Road. CARES is a food pantry as well as a financial aid center. The organization serves families as well as individuals with receiving food for the week, helping pay their bills, and teaching them about financial funds. Their main goal is to help families get out of any financial crisis, and be able to become stable. CARES receives money from GEDCO organizations and food from surrounding neighborhood schools, families, community groups, etc.
When I went to volunteer I was really anxious to help serve the surrounding families in my own neighborhood in Baltimore. I volunteered among 5 other Loyola students to help fill grocery bags for the families to come pick them up. Every Saturday, once a week, people in need will come to CARES and stand in line for hours to receive food to feed their families for the following week. I felt really good helping to serve these families who don’t have money to buy any groceries for themselves. We packed groceries for about two hours. It was amazing to see how much food is donated to CARES. I was really happy to see that so many people donated so much to feed the people in Baltimore. It was also interesting to see how residents in the neighborhood as well as Loyola students go to CARES to volunteer on their own. CARES needs all the help it can get, and I was glad to be a part of it last weekend. After packing groceries, I helped the visitors with job searching. I had done volunteer work before, but had never really socialized with the residents as much as I did on Saturday. I realized how lucky I was to be a part of my family; a family with parents who can provide many things for their children and have steady jobs. I sympathized with the Baltimore residents who did not have any jobs, or jobs that barely paid anything.
“End of April,” by Phillis Levin, “Serving Up Hope,” by Stephanie Shapiro, and “B. Traven is Alive and Well in Cuernavaca,” by Rudolfo A. Anaya, all relate to my experience and service at CARES. In “End of April,” is a metaphorical poem concerning broken robin’s egg. The poem suggests that the speaker is reminiscing on a lover, friend, or family member who has past. The poem teaches the reader to appreciate what they have and be thankful for everything, because at any point it can be taken from us. The people who go to CARES have lost a lot of what they had and can barely find the means to survive. As a volunteer there, I was able to really appreciate the things that I have now. The second reading, “Serving Up Hope,” concerns a family-owned business that takes in people who have troubled lives, and teaches tries to guide them away from bad habits through cooking. “We want to make sure that their health, their social environment, their financial situation, their family situation, legal situation, their mental and psychological situations are all in order, while teaching them how to become chefs” (Howard Wicker in Serving Up Hope). The goal of CARES is to also help their clients become financially stable and to help them with difficult situations. The last reading, “B. Traven is Alive and Well in Cuernavaca,” we read about a man who goes to Mexico to write about the mystery of an author B. Tavern. Throughout the story, the speaker befriends a man named Justino. This character Justino reminds me of the volunteers who work at CARES. He is a man that seeks wealth and happiness, but only to share it with his friends and family. He is not selfish about anything, and his main purpose is only to make those who are with him happy. The volunteers at CARES and those who donate are always looking for ways to share more with a community that has so less. No one is selfish, and they only want to build up others’ lives and make everyone stable and content.

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