Food Pantry Morning

10 11 2007

Today was my first time doing some volunteer work at a food pantry. The gentleman in charge of the pantry had me help him check in the people who come for the food donated by the government and various people in the community. They pass out groceries and canned goods, juice, milk, water, soda, you name it. No one is ever turned away from the pantry and everyone may get the pre-bagged/pre-packaged foodstuffs. In addition to picking up food for themselves, if you have someone else’s ID you may pick up food for them as well. Once everyone in the household is “registered” in this way, you receive a card which entitles you to go to the pantry and pick up food on their behalf without having to worry about ID. ID can consist of a drivers’ license, a welfare/state benefits card, or something saying you are staying one of the local shelters. Even if you don’t have any ID, you can still pick up something for yourself.

It was a very interesting experience, and I was surprised to find it was fun in its own way. People would talk to you in their own language (be it Spanish, Italian, Polish, whatever) as if you could understand them. There were many many senior citizens or mature adults. There were quite a few who, to my very untrained eyes and senses, would have a VERY difficult time re-integrating into “normal” society, such as holding down a job, etc. On the other end of the spectrum were just normal every day folks who were down on their luck. And of course, there were all kinds in between.

One or two ironic and “only-in-New York” moments … quite a few of the homeless had cell phones and one even had an iPod!

I think what all of these folks shared in addition to their economic state, however, was their desire and need to be treated with the dignity and respect we owe each other as human beings … I actually enjoyed meeting these 200+ people and extending them the same courtesy each one of us is due. Since 95% were older than me, I called them all “Sir” or “Ma’am” out of respect and politeness, and made sure I smiled and greeted each of them in turn.

Of course, now that i’ve typed that i feel like i was bragging a bit and maybe slightly guilty that i shared that … but at the same time, i think that’s the important bit of the whole day … while we all did a very small bit to provide food to people who otherwise might go without, we knew a little more fully what it means to respect the dignity of every human being as it says in our Baptismal Covenant.

I believe I shall go back and help them next week.

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9 responses

10 11 2007
Jarred

This sounds like a truly rewarding experience.

11 11 2007
www.foodthatheal.info » Food Pantry Morning

[…] Reverend boy added an interesting post on Food Pantry Morning.Here’s a small excerpt:Today was my first time doing some volunteer work at a food pantry. The gentleman in charge of the pantry had me help him check in the people who come for the food donated by the government and various people in the community. … […]

11 11 2007
Grandmère Mimi

Or, as St. Francis of Assisi says, it’s in giving that we receive.

11 11 2007
Doorman-Priest

That sounds like an excellent thing to do and one which more of us should emulate. Good for you.
Still not smoking?
D.P.

12 11 2007
Reverend boy

Still not smoking, though i have come close several times …

12 11 2007
"That Kaeton Woman"

Good for you – both in this new ministry and the not smoking. I love tobacco. I admit to indulging every once in a while. Especially after an evening of good wine and conversation. I plan my next one after Thanksgiving dinner. I’ll go over to my friend’s house “for dessert.” Everyone knows. No one says anything.

Other than that, I do not pick up. However, I’ve told my children that for my 80th birthday, all I want is the promise of a carton of cigarettes a week because I intend to take up smoking again on a daily basis.

I know. I’m bad. So, take a ticket and stand in line. There are lots of people waiting to say that to my face (and lots more who already say it behind my back).

13 11 2007
Grandmère Mimi

I admit to indulging every once in a while.

You damned well better, Liza, because I saw you with my own eyes, and I was shocked, SHOCKED! And don’t give me the lying eyes line.

Rev. Boy, hold on with the not smoking. Smoking will put premature lines in that handsome face of yours.

13 11 2007
Reverend boy

Maybe the lines would go well with the grey that’s starting to come in. Maybe i’ll get that distinguished look … LOL

Liza, i’m sure your 80th birthday is at least another 40 years off. 😉

14 11 2007
"That Kaeton Woman"

Oh, you dear, dear man. Why, how ever did you guess my age? ;~)

No, those are NOT ‘lying eyes’, Mimi. They dream, is all. And, remember.

What is so shocking about having a little indulgence once in a while? Hell, I live in the NY Metro area. I breathe in more toxins and pollutants on a daily basis than I’d ever get in a cigarette every now and again.

Besides, I ain’t afraid of no lines in my face. I intend to grow old gracefully. Maybe the only thing I do gracefully, but goddamnit, I’m going to try.

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