Yesterday, May 22nd, I again was in Skid Row for my volunteer work with the Union Rescue Mission. Fortunately, I was requested to man the bread station, and not the lettuce or the chopped tomatoes, the stewed diced white meat or the corn. All of these require the servers to move fast for the trays to get into the hands of those on line. We have white bread, raisin bread, and rye bread, so I often asked which one would they prefer to have. This allowed me to look at everyone and observe those who already were eating. I also have the opportunity to tell them to enjoy their meal and that 'Jesus loves them'.
Young and old Asians, African-Americans, Hispanics, and Caucasians were represented. Sane, insane, shabbily dressed, and formally dressed were there to be served lunch. There was even a guy, who was wearing a clean coat and tie, so opposite to a guy, who wore a dirty pair of shoes and a black plastic trash bag to cover his upper body.
Certainly, homelessness doesn't excuse any nationality. Sometimes, it hits someone, because of extravagance and addiction; many times it victimizes someone, because of job loss and unemployment. Nevertheless, the one that touches me most, besides those hapless children, are those with mental instability.
I can't help myself, but to sympathize for those I saw staring blankly at their food, talking and laughing as they talked either to their food trays or to imaginary someones beside them. Most of the time, they were the last ones to turn their trays in. Others don't even have the time to finish their food before the security officer would announce that their eating time is up.
But you know what; you cannot underestimate homeless people. Even though most don't observe cleanliness, many still do.
In between service, servers have to clean tables. We were supposed to dispose our old gloves, washed our hands properly before wearing another clean pair of gloves. In one occasion, one of the lady volunteer inadvertently forgot to dispose her latex gloves. She immediately went to her station, because the next serve was about to begin. Immediately, a homeless lady called the attention of the supervisor to report it.
So, when you're on Skid Row doing some volunteer work, forget the idea, for once, that they sleep on a card boards, tattered tents, or plastic tarps at nighttime. Many of those who don shabby or showy dresses cannot just be taken for granted.
And if you have time or a dime to spare, open up your heart or pocket to help URM and other agencies on Skid Row. Yesterday, URM run out of disposable plastic gloves. All the agencies are non-profits; thus operating by faith. Come on. Let's help them a little.
The dining hall and the food counter in this clip are that of the Union Rescue Mission.