During my Freshman year at school, I had the privilege to volunteer my time at the Cass Community Center in Detroit, Michigan. This experience allowed me to gain a better understanding of the hunger and homelessness issue not only in the Detroit area but other places as well.
While we were here, we were able to help out the people who were homeless but worked for the center. They had various jobs; one of which included tearing apart tires found on the streets of Detroit. They are then used to make doormats which people can purchase online. (Fun fact- on one of my other volunteer excursions, I saw one of these mats in a church! So it was cool to see it come full circle for me).
The next day we were able to help set up for the night-time shelter that provided a place for people to sleep. We brought in beds, mattresses, pillows and blankets that provided a warm place during winter time for people. We also got to prepare lunch and eat with people here.
This opportunity allowed me to impact a community that resides so close to my home. It displaced a lot of stereotypes that revolve around the homeless community, and it gave me a better understanding of what these people go through on a day-to-day basis. A lot of the people we met were homeless because of crappy circumstances in their life that put them there, not because they were “lazy” or “abusing the system.” It is not a good feeling to rely on others for your shelter, your food, and even sometimes your clothes. That was one of the biggest things I learned, and it allows me to acknowledge the privilege I can have, and how fortunate my life is.