When Our Children Give Back
Today’s post comes from Victoria Infinger, our communications intern.
“Feel what it’s like to truly starve, and I guarantee that you’ll forever think twice before wasting food.” – Criss Jami
Feeding the homeless can leave a forever footprint on the hearts of those who have never seen or understood what it is like to be hungry or homeless. For some of our children, hungry and homeless are two words all too familiar to them.
I stumbled across the above quote as I tried to create an understanding in myself of what it meant for the children of the Palmetto Place to volunteer and feed the homeless and hungry people of Columbia. These children know more than anyone what it means to be starving, and not just starving for food – starving for attention, starving for love, and starving for a better tomorrow. These are things I believe in my heart that they cherish, and will never come to waste. So when I discovered this quote, thoughts inside me began to stir.
The idea of the children feeding the homeless came about while on an ice cream outing. “We were talking about how sometimes we waste food when we don’t eat it,” said Jill Lawson, who took the children to feed the homeless. “Then one of the girls said to me, ‘We should help out the homeless who can’t eat. Ms. Jill, let’s take the wasted food to the homeless people!’”
So, we decided to take our children to a homeless shelter to gain a greater understanding of what it means to give back to the community. Many of our children have been recipients of good will, so we thought it would be a fun change of pace to show them how wonderful it feels to give.
“At first, most of them were hesitant and afraid of the unknown,” said Jill. “After arriving at the location, they became excited and realized the people we would be serving are just the same as us, but living in different circumstances.”
The children ended up having a very enjoyable and even “humbling” experience, according to Jill. All the children had important roles, and learned a lesson or two about what it means to serve the community. Some children were placed outside their comfort zone, and learned that they were fine with it! For example, the more shy children were placed to greet people – and they loved it. Even the smaller children had a place to volunteer. They did a great job bringing dessert out to the homeless!
Jill said watching the children feed the homeless made her feel “proud”. “They were extremely respectful, polite and eager to help others in need,” she said. “I watched them step up to the challenge, do something out of their comfort zone and thrive.”