On Monday I volunteered at a soup kitchen at the Unitarian Church of All Souls. This is not the first time I’ve been to All Souls to volunteer. My school has a longstanding partnership with All Souls, but I often just show up on Monday nights to help out when I can.
When I first arrived, I put my cell phone away, put on gloves, and started setting up the tables. For about 20 minutes, I followed this process around 5-10 times:
1. Put on tablecloth on the tables
2. Put bowls on the table for 8 people
3. Put a paper coffee cup and a ceramic mug out for each person
4. Give each place setting a napkin and silverware (a soup spoon, teaspoon, fork, and knife)
Three students from another school also helped out. After we were done, I went to the kitchen and asked what more I could do. The supervisor told me to fill the pitchers with ice water, which only took five to ten minutes, and then I put one on each table. After that, I was done.
The All Souls soup kitchen serves an important function in our community. It feeds 275-300 people every Monday night. The people who come eat at tables with tablecloths and are served by wait staff. People often line up outside several hours early so they can eat at the express tables. Those tables are designed for people who need to eat quickly so they can be at their shelters by curfew. Many people who go to the soup kitchen are homeless, but most seem to have jobs. Some of the people are elderly, but many are surprisingly young.
This is a prime example that shows helping out does not need to be for very long. I was at All-Souls for only about 30 minutes. I can spare that once a week. I went to sleep feeling I made some small difference in my community and grateful for all the food in my fridge that I take for granted.