On Wednesday, our group went to a place called Care for Real that gave out free food and clothes. I was surprised to see that the place was on a busy road and not in a more secluded, quiet place with less buildings. The woman who was in charge was really nice and was really funny. I didn’t get to know her that well though because I was working on organizing the clothes room and household items with Quincy, Andrew and Chris. I expected the working progress to be boring and quiet but it was really fun and exciting. Every once in a while we would switch jobs and had fun while cleaning. When the customers came, I thought they’d be quiet and minding their own business but they were really talkative and kind. They would each say “thank you for volunteering” or “thank you so much for your help”. The clients would talk about what they were getting and asking opinions about each item. This woman let us play with her baby boy named Jeremiah and had a small conversation with me and Quincy. A man who needed some clothes and shoes would always ask us what we thought about a shirt he found. He reminded me of a woman from Deborah’s Place with all the conversations we had. After the volunteer work, we headed to the Tribune which had pieces of famous buildings around the world. Each piece were gifts from their home and made me think how generous people can be, giving a part of their home to someone. When we were finished with the Tribune, we went to the Navy Pier and explored the place. I stayed with Emma and we were determined to get to the end of the Pier. It was so cool that there were rides and many restaurants with music performers. The pier was something I’ve never seen before, with all the party boats and inside gardens. We stopped to see the fireworks and eventually headed back to the hostel and started packing. Helping people and serving them made me really happy especially at Deborah’s Place and just brightened my day.
Yesterday, we got up early and embarked on a new service project. When we arrived at Care For Real, they welcomed us with open arms. We were not the only volunteers there, and we got to know quite a few of the others. Their day started early-9 am-when they began to let people in their doors for free clothes and food. All of the people that we met were low-income and in need. I worked on setting up and handing out food to people who got staple items (beans, rice, noodles, cereal) once a month. I was shocked by how these people didn’t always take all of the food that they were offered. At home, we usually keep a surplus of food in our pantries, but these people would say, “Oh, I still have some of that” or “I don’t need any more of this.” The services ended at noon and we helped the other volunteers clean up. That afternoon, we had some free time which we all enjoyed. Before going to back to the hostel to get ready for dinner, we made a stop at the Chicago Tribune building. This building has many different pieces of walls and monuments from all around the world placed into the walls on the outside of the building. We did some journaling and talked about how we have broken down walls this week. I wrote about the attitudes before and during this trip. Most of us probably had some kind of idea of how the people that we were going to meet should be treated. I think those walls were broken down this week in our minds. We learned that even people whose lives are not ideal or might be in a hard place should be treated with respect and love, and they will be kind right back. The people were met were so thankful for the lives that they had and were so kind towards us.