This past Wednesday, November 25, one of the attorney's I work with collaborated with an organization called "I Am a Movement Not a Monument" for a Thanksgiving brunch for the homeless. (I Am A Movement is based in Hawthorne and aims to help low income families and youth. )
After preparing plates of food, water, and dessert, the team and volunteers loaded cars with plates and headed out to areas where homeless people are usually found. Once we got to the first location, women, men, and children started coming to us asking for food. Many of them asked for two, claiming that they were asking for a friend or spouse. My first reaction to this was to assume that the people were lying only to get extra food, I immediately thought of them as greedy and even ungrateful. But soon I realized that, even if they WERE lying, what does it matter? They need the extra food and we have it, so why not give them an extra meal? As the plates started to disappear, I felt terrible for making such assumptions about people that way. I knew that my assumption must have come from my knowledge that the people were homeless, but I didn't want to admit it. I'm glad I quickly caught myself before I acted on my conclusions.
In short, the experience was great and, even though I know one simple day of public service won't make a dent in the amount of homeless people, I encourage all of you to do some kind of charity or community service work. It is rewarding, not only for the people you will serve, but also for you. And don't do community service in your neighborhood, do it somewhere you've never been, maybe a nearby city with a "bad" reputation or a city that's stigmatized for it's majority-minority population. Explore, learn, and grow through other communities.
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