Sunday, August 14, 2011

Volunteering in Baltimore at Campus Kitchen

My first experience with Campus Kitchen was today August 5, 2011. I arrived at 9:15 and caught up with Lydia. Once we got inside I met a few of the other volunteers John, Kim, and Sabrina, and then Amy and Liz arrived too. First we got on aprons, gloves, and hair nets. I was assigned to the hot food serving, so I spent the time ladling casserole and then chicken rice vegetable soup into bowls and saying good morning to the patrons of the Franciscan Center.

We heard some interesting stories today. The one that came as the clearest view through an odd window was a story that Kim, the cook told us. She told us about her son when he was a little boy, he is thirty five now, which makes her about fifty or so. She said that she came home from work and told him and his little cousin to get ready because they were going out to eat. She didn't have any money at the time but they took the car and the two were so excited. They went out and the two boys told her family for months about how great it was to go out to the restaurant and how great it was because they served you the meal, and had drinks, and nice tables, and on and on. The boys were so excited, and she just let them smile and enjoy it, because where she had taken them was the Daily Bread, a soup kitchen that also provides free meals and serves its patrons at the tables. I was shocked as I heard this story and realized where it was going. And now she is giving back to the community that helped her as a volunteer cook at the Franciscan Center.

There was also another young girl there today. Her name was Sabrina and she was a volunteer as well, it seemed she had been there before. She is starting ninth grade in a few weeks. So we talked a little bit about that, she told me she was nervous and excited. I told her me too and that I was going to teach middle school English. She then told me that she didn't like English because the books are boring to her and that she does bad on the tests because she gets nervous and scared of them. I told her that made me said because I love reading. I think I might have convinced her to start reading just for fun, she told me that she had promised her parents that she would. I hope that she does, she was a very smart and well spoken girl.
I found it quite interesting how many different types of people there were coming to the kitchen. I was surprised at how very ordinary most of the people looked. Just normal people, I guess going through a hard time, or enjoying a free meal. And many of the people were happy, and there were only few who were unsatisfied. I was very surprised. It was the first time I had ever worked in a soup kitchen.

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