Frustrations Of a Soup Kitchen Volunteer…….

November 9, 2012

I want to focus this post on the unseen and the unheard. I apologize in advance as I am in a somewhat dark mood right now and I am sure it will show up here. Sometimes even Will’s words can’t lift me up.

I’m sure all of us realize that much of the world has it infinitely harder than we do. We know of the genocide in Africa. We are aware of the hunger around the world, even in this country.  We know that there are ten world trade centers of people dying every day due to not having enough food or safe drinking water. We know about it but we just try not to think of it. In other words we compartmentalize our lives so they all these problems are unseen and unheard. Maybe that is what we need to do to keep our sanity?

It seems lately like I am constantly trying to get volunteers for the soup kitchen/homeless shelter where I have volunteered two days a week for the past nine years. Thanks to donations from local restaurants, supermarkets and others we have been recently blessed with enough food to feed those who come to us for some of their meals.  What seems to be the most difficult to come by are volunteers to help prepare, serve, and cleanup after the meals. There just never seems to be enough who are willing to “pay forward ” for all the blessing in their lives.

Due to the holidays this time of year is usually good for collecting monetary donations to the mission and we even get a scarce few people volunteer on a one time basis but never enough to fill the need. It is difficult to make people realize that the soup kitchen is a year-round need that doesn’t go away after the Christmas trees are back in storage.

I may I have bitten off more than I can chew but this year I am making it a personal project to get some of the staff at the mission a few days off during this Christmas season. They certainly deserve it. They all work long selfless hours throughout the year.   I have sent out several personal appeal letters asking for volunteers from various groups and organizations to help me accomplish it but there are very few takers and none for Christmas day itself. I may end up doing it pretty much by myself but I will do that if that is what it takes.

I know people’s lives are rushed now. Many work two lower paying jobs where one job was once enough. Many just don’t think they have time for others. I am not done with this appeal; there are still a few other things I will be trying.  I am not giving up hope just yet but the unseen and the unheard  are just not much of a priority in today’s world. That is very frustrating to me but I must face that reality……

If anyone has any suggestions about this I would be happy to hear them. But, I do want to leave you with a personal appeal. If you live in an area with a soup kitchen, and most of us do, call them up sometime and ask them where you can help. It will brighten their day immensely to know that someone else cares.

2 responses to Frustrations Of a Soup Kitchen Volunteer…….

  1. 

    We used to prep all of the Christmas Eve dinners on the day before – so they only had to be pulled and served. We had several people who normally were in the line that we asked to serve that day. There was often delight at the suggestion.
    We sent home plates after regular food was served in the afternoon of Christmas Eve. We then served sandwiches on Christmas Day (that were made three days before as well).
    We often manned the Christmas Eve dinners with teens from the local Catholic Church. They did it as service hours for Confirmation. We also hit up the local Catholic school 8th grade.
    I would say that in the seven years that I worked my food kitchen- the local Catholic school was the best bet for almost any occasion. I had teams of 4 kids work almost every night- from serving to dishing.
    I have a feeling your kitchen is much larger… we only served about 150 people a night (and triple on the Holydays). Is your kitchen not sponsored by the local Churches?
    good luck.
    I’ll pray that you get some to step up!

    • 

      Thanks for the suggestions Janette. Yes, we also prepare much before the holiday meals. I will likely be there most of Christmas eve doing that. I will look into the idea about Catholic teens. I have not tried that approach yet.
      No, we are not affiliated with any church/denomination. The kitchen/shelter was started by a couple of “bikers” about twenty years ago. That is a very interesting story I will have to post about sometime.

      Thanks again…..