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Star of Hope

I will always remember that exciting but nervous car ride downtown. I remember how I woke up that morning feeling tired and thinking that I really didn’t want to do this confirmation service project.

As the streets changed from smooth and clean, to bumpy with trash all over the place, I knew I was really in for something. When we drove under bridges of the downtown streets, I could see 20 to 30 men with only blankets, mattresses, shopping carts and the clothes on their backs. They were the poor.

After we parked our cars we walked over to a building. On the side of it there were massive blocked letters that spelled “HOPE - WOMEN AND CHILDREN FAMILY CENTER.”

When the 10 of us entered the building, we saw many different faces. Some young, some middle-aged, some elderly. Some looked so scared, some happy; some just didn’t know what to do. I started to feel sad and pain in my heart for all these people.

A lady came up to us and escorted our group to the kitchen. When we got there I saw the five happiest faces in the world. They were so grateful that we were there to help them serve lunch for the day. Immediately we all washed our hands and got put to work. I had to open five gigantic cans of peas and pour them into a pan. Then, I helped open peaches and set up chairs in preparation of lunch.

During the whole preparation I could remember myself thinking, ”Oh I’m hungry.” I was so mad at myself thinking this because I was suppose to be helping people and not thinking about me.

Everyone finished early, before lunch was going to be served, so we got to sit where the homeless were.
I was really nervous and didn’t know what to expect. I saw a boy sitting by himself and a middle-aged woman with a scared face. I decided to go over by them. When I walked over I asked the woman how her day was going, and she turned toward me with a huge smile and said,” “Great, how about you?” I replied and then turned toward the boy who had Spider-Man and Ninja Turtle action figures. I asked him how old he was and, told him that I liked his action figures. He said,

“Thank you, and I’m 12 years old.”

Everyone seemed so nice and appreciative. I don’t know how people can be so happy and appreciative when they have nothing and no home, I know if I was homeless and in that position where I had to go to a shelter and know that I wouldn’t be able to provide food for myself, I would be down in the dumps. I would also feel really bad for my mom or dad knowing that they tried so hard in their life and couldn’t support our family.

I wanted to talk to them more but I had to go and help serve lunch. We must have served 50 to 60 people, all of whom had very nice and smiling faces. After lunch was finished, everyone had to help clean the kitchen up. The trays used for lunch were cleaned. I mopped the floor and dishes were washed and put away.
The five ladies had already begun making dinner and a cake for dessert that night. We said our good-byes and I left with a warm feeling in my heart.

I feel ashamed of myself and where I live knowing that there are very kind people with nothing and no where to go. What is going to happen to the men under the bridges when it gets colder and rains? Will they have anywhere to go for Thanksgiving or Christmas?

My heart breaks for the children and parents who have to worry about what each day is going to bring, where they will stay, and if they will have enough to eat. We have so much to be thankful for. Next time we think that we are bad off or get upset because we can’t get that new iPod, think about how the people at Star of Hope feel. I know that I saw the poorest of them all.

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