Did you ever wonder what it would feel like to be so hungry that you could only concentrate on food? No matter what you tried to do, all you could think about was eating. I had an experience several months ago that opened my eyes to hunger in Pittsburgh. The church that I attend planned a trip to the North Side Light of Life Soup Kitchen one Sunday afternoon. My mom was going and invited me along. I really did not want to go, but figured I might get a trip to the mall on the way home.
My mom and I prepared food at home that was part of the menu for the soup kitchen. We arrived at the church so all participating could car-pool together. Upon arrival at the soup kitchen, I could not believe my eyes. There were lines of people waiting for our church group to carry in the food so they could eat. Each homeless person was given a number. Once the numbers ran out, people were turned away, even if they had not had any dinner that day. I saw men, women and children. I really was so surprised by how many homeless people were waiting in line.
Once we were set-up, the host for the dinner began letting people in the door. There were two dining rooms. One dining room housed men and the other dining room seated women and children. The whole process of feeding approximately 175 people took less than two hours. All of the people served were very appreciative that my church had cooked them dinner. They commented on how good the food was and asked if we would be coming back next week.
I really was so touched with their kindness. I hated to see so many people hungry and homeless. I just kept looking at the children and felt so sorry for them. I wondered where they would sleep that night. I wondered if they had a mom or dad to tuck them into their beds. I felt sorry for the men, they looked so sad and weary. I wondered if they ever saw their families. Some of the men and women commented that they had not eaten in three days. I was shocked.
Needless to say, on the drive home from the Light of Life Soup Kitchen, I never even mentioned stopping at the mall. What I did ask my mom was to go to the homeless shelter again in the near future. Our church began planning monthly trips to the homeless shelter and my mom and I always attend. I really feel good about myself during the time I spend helping those who are less fortunate. I have even organized clothing and toy and drives in my neighborhood, so that often when I arrive at the shelter I have clothes and toys to pass out after dinner. Everyone is always appreciative and never forgets to say thank you.
-- Katelyn Gill, 14, Gibsonia, Pennsylvania.
As the cooler weather sets in, the need for warm food, warm clothing, and the warmth in our hearts toward people in need increases. Check out if there are groups in your community that would welcome your help and support of their humanitarian work: soup kitchens, shelters, food bags, holiday gift drives, etc.
You Aren't Immune
Walking down the street
Staring where I lie
An endless flow of people
With judgement in their eye
Do you think that I don't notice
Our eyes never meet
Or that it doesn't hurt
As you point and laugh
Being none too discreet
There once was a time
When I had dreams
To make a difference in this world
How long ago that seems
Now walk away
Pretend you didn't see
But keep in your heart
The fact that one of you
Could someday be me.
-- Lynn Ann Lemcke, 14, Wexford, Penn.