Sunday, July 29, 2012

Darina 6

I have been focusing on the outreach project and my routine tasks. Hence, I would like to share my experience at places I volunteer other than my CLA. When I came into Martha’s Table, all I knew is that they were a non-profit that offers free meals to individuals in the DC area. Pfft, boy was I underestimating their role in aiding the community. (Three of our Presidents and their families have volunteered there!) I was able to pull a lot of information about their mission from their website: At Martha’s table, volunteers and staff members offer Tutorial, educational, job training and recreational programs during the school year and in the summer for approximately 250 children and youth ages 3 months to 22 years old. They also offer Family support services, such as screening, referrals, groceries, and affordable clothing known as Martha's Outfitters. Martha’s Outfitters is thrift store and clothing distribution center. In addition, Martha’s table provides meals to the homeless everyday of the year at numerous sites throughout the city as well as meals for senior shut-ins and Collaborations with 200 other organizations to coordinate efficiently a variety of services. More than 10,000 people a year from schools, businesses, faith based groups and the community volunteer and learn about services and the value of helping their neighbors. I have gotten the chance to help in the kitchen by packaging and portioning food as well as helping to chop vegetables. There is also a children’s care. A lot of the kids are kindergarten or elementary age. I usually suck at being goofy or stern with kids so I tend to stay away from that. Another day I went on an evening food delivery. We handed out hot stew as well as PB&J, ham & cheese, and egg salad sandwiches to people as they lined up on the sidewalk. It was evident that most of these individuals were sleeping on the streets and were in need of a shower and a change of clothes. The cool part was that we had a lot of food so most people were able to take away four times the food that is usually given to each person. (At the end of the night, we estimated that about 45 people have been serviced at our site). From the line of people, I was struck most by two young girls. They looked about the same age as me, maybe even a year or two younger. They were Asian and did not speak much English. They also carried pillows and blankets in trash bags. I wish I could know their story. It’s distressing that individuals have to face such challenges of poverty right in the heart of our nation’s capital.

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