For the past semester, I have been participating in a long-term service opportunity through Mount Leadership Society and through my service-learning class, ESHESA 2751. Every Friday, I travel downtown to the Community Kitchen on Ohio Ave for the afternoon. The Community Kitchen is a no-questions-asked soup kitchen open to the public, in order to feed those who are in need. They don’t stop there, though. Employees at the Community Kitchen also help clients find jobs and housing in order to become more self-sufficient.
My role at the Community Kitchen has been to help with any needed tasks for the day. Often, my shifts are filled with chopping produce, serving sandwiches, and mopping floors. Although, the tasks have become routine, the clientele I meet on a weekly basis is not. The population of clients served at Community Kitchen is very diverse. Many are homeless, while others are not; some have college degrees, while some never finished high school; some are white, and some are black; there are males, females, and even children. This immense diversity, and this opportunity, have allowed me to meet members of my community that I would not have otherwise met.
My time at the Community Kitchen has given me a new perspective on the issues of poverty and food insecurity in my own community. My experiences have also opened my eyes to racial disparity and racial discrimination in a new way. Combined with in-class discussions about privilege and social class, I have grown much more conscious of my circumstances and how I can use my abilities to help others. It has made me better understand how much I have been given, and helped me to realize that, in turn, I should give back as much as I can.