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Inside a Soup Kitchen

Inside a Soup Kitchen

If you’ve never been inside a soup kitchen you may be unaware of what goes on inside it. Some people have very particular predictions of what it must be like. For example, some people think of a group of homeless people fighting over food with a couple of old ladies serving soup from a large bowl. Others imagine a very sad, quiet place full of people who barley have the strength to bring their spoon to their mouth.

The reality could not be more different.

There are certainly differences between soup kitchens, but most share some common aspects. The first and most apparent is that they don’t look like a “kitchen” at all – most soup kitchens are set up with tables and chairs and look no different from a standard eatery.

The food quality? It’s good. Soup kitchens may be run by volunteers but that does not mean the food is of below par standard. On the contrary, many of the volunteers have been cooking for years and are really no different from a trade certified chef. The kitchen is a hectic place, as is any kitchen in any restaurant. There is food to be made and orders to be filled.

The main difference is the clientele. Yes, there is plenty of homeless. You will notice a disproportionate amount of elderly folk coming to the soup kitchen. These are the folk that are not as visible on the streets. They hide away during the day to escape the crowds, but need to be fed like the rest of us. There are also those that simply can’t afford to feed themselves and their large family even though they are not homeless. And then there are the lonely – the people that come to eat around others because they have no one else.

The best part of a soup kitchen is also the volunteers. They are there for one major purpose – to help. So as you can imagine, they are some of the kindest people in the general population. This also results in an environment where regardless of whether of food quality, the people getting fed are happy and satisfied. This is not to say the quality is poor, but simply that it is not the purpose of a soup kitchen.

Soup kitchens are not depressing. They are a place to eat and enjoy food together, and if you have not volunteered in one yet, now is the time to do it. We can all lend a hand in helping others.

Homelessness in America

Homelessness in America

Not only has the state of the American home changed, but the home itself (or lack of). Many people are either unaware or are simply not fully informed about the homeless epidemic that is hitting America. America’s homeless are known as the Hidden Poor and this description is quite accurate – they are not the people we see all the time and they are not malnourished as you may witness on TV in other countries.

However, they are poor. The 21st century is bringing with it an even greater divide of rich and poor. Sure, we have things we didn’t have years ago, but this is creating an even greater separation between the people that have those things and the people who don’t. This is not how it should be especially in a country of great wealth. You can read about the current state of homelessness here.

So what can you do to help? There are many things you can start doing right now to assist in stopping the homelessness epidemic in America.

Donate any spare clothes

Clothes are cheap to us but when you have to choose between clothes and food, food will win. For many people living on the street these sorts of choices are a daily occurrence. This is one of the many reasons why substance abuse occurs – it allows people to forget the magnitude of their problems. If you can assist in donating clothes, you will help put less emphasis on things we can help so that we can focus on dealing with the bigger issues at hand.

Don’t waste food

Another thing we often take for granted it food. The American diet today offers huge portions. We not only don’t need these huge portions for ourselves, but it also means that so much of it is wasted.

Don’t look away

The more we look away and pretend the problem does not exist, the more ignorant we become and the less willing we are to help. It is important to acknowledge that homelessness is a real problem in the community and not to deny that it exists. Help someone when you can and other people around you will follow and do the same.

Talk to the homeless

Sometimes all it takes is a conversation to turn someones life around. Even if it doesn’t turn their life around, it can be insightful for both you and them. You can only learn about someones situation by asking and the more informed and educated we become about the ways in which people become homeless, the less likely it will be to happen. This will help us to prevent others in similar situations from becoming homeless.

Volunteer your time

There are plenty of ways to use your time to help those less fortunate than yourself. Yes, your time is the most valuable thing you have. But it is best spent helping others. You can do several things such as volunteering at a soup kitchen, helping out at a shelter or helping at fundraisers.

The homeless epidemic that is sweeping American can be stopped – but it requires a few things to make this happen.

  1. Acknowledge the problem. Don’t be one of those people who tries their best not to stare in the direction of a homeless person. You do not have to give, but at least acknowledge that there are people suffering.
  2. Give when you can. It is not rational to expect people to always give. But when you can, it is worth doing. If you have some spare change and you’re near a vending machine, get something and give it away.
  3. Sign local petitions. You can make a change. We all can. But we need to have the right people listen to us. So start signing local petitions today so that we can begin to tackle this problem.

We all play a role in helping end homelessness in America, and together we can make it happen.