Yesterday I took a trip with the rest of the Visions kids to a homeless shelter called the Midnight Mission. While I was there I had a life-changing experience. After I left I felt like I made a difference in the world. I was serving beans, and there were easily over 400 people. There were kids, adults, and families. While I was serving, the people were very kind and loving. They were thankful. I started to run out of beans and I realized that the first 100-150 people got beans, zucchini, and a hard sandwich. After I had served all the beans, over 250 more people didn’t get any beans. I sat and I observed the less fortunate, remembering that I was hungry and had a nice dinner waiting for me in the car. Not only did I have a nice dinner but we were going to take a trip to Starbucks afterward. So, as I remembered what I had, I started to cry. I had this feeling that I have never had before, and I cannot explain what it was. I stood looking at the people and saw that there was no more food for them, and I started to really feel the pain; I cried. Then I went and took a timeout. One of the kitchen staff at the Midnight Mission asked me if one of the homeless said something mean to me. I couldn’t help but feel even more upset and sad because the people were so nice and far from mean. I could not express the love and pain I felt for these people. I watched as they fought over more food. I heard their voices yell for more food and all I could feel was sorrow. I have never felt a want to help others, but today I wanted to give everything I had to them. I watched as we drove down Skid Row and saw them on the cold sidewalk, sleeping on rock, their stomachs growling. I had a warm hot coffee sitting in my hands, warm in clothes, wearing shoes, and being around the ones I loved. I hated how I took for granted the people at Visions, but when I got to see how these people have no one, I didn’t want to go home. All I wanted to do was stay close with all the people that I had met at Visions. Coming to the Midnight Mission was the best thing I could have ever asked for. I got a culture shock and the best feeling I could ever ask for. I guess you could say that the feeling I felt looking at them at first was helplessness, because after I ran out of beans I could do nothing more and I wish I could have. But that feeling changed as I realized that these are strong people. These people are struggling for their lives and are making it through. One of the residents here told me that he didn’t feel bad for these people, that they did it to themselves or get treatment for their mental health issues. They didn’t have a chance. Their addiction got so out of hand that they ended up like that. I can tell you that if the kids here didn’t have the chance to come to treatment and learn about the disease of addiction and co-occurring disorders, they would be in the same f@#king position. So, for someone to say that to me was heart breaking. I could not believe and even explain what was really happening to these people. This was also a good time for me to learn that not everyone believes what I believe. I believe that these homeless people didn’t have a chance to have a better life. But that resident doesn’t, so I cannot sit and waste the time I did have with the homeless telling him how he was wrong. That was a big for me to just let that go. I knew in my heart that I helped and I gave them a smile. I helped someone out for once. I truly helped someone out without any reward, and I wish I could go all over the world and make a difference in someone’s life. There was this one man that particularly touched me. He was in line, and I said to him, “Hi sir how was your Christmas?” His reply back to me was, “It was as good as it could ever be.” A homeless person who had no nice Christmas dinner, no presents, no home, no and family to spend it with could be grateful. I think that I got more than what was necessary on my Christmas, but I didn’t feel that on Christmas. I realized this about a week later. It was amazing to me that someone less fortunate can be humble and not complain. It bothers me that my conceited attitude is what I have always turned to, and because I always act like I am the shit, that’s how I am looked at as a person. But I am not that person. I am a loving and kind person. I just have a hard time showing it. And yes, it may take a couple more times of Midnight Mission and more volunteer work for me to really understand that I have it good. I have everything I could ever want. Not only that, but I should be grateful that I have a chance to be helped with my addiction as a teen. If the homeless, who suffer every day can get clean all on their own, I have great hope for myself and other kids at Visions. It takes a lot of courage and strength to get through treatment, even with loving and open people and all the luxuries. It’s amazing that these people got clean with nothing but themselves and meetings. That must have been so hard. So hard that I can only look up to them. I have everything I could ever need. I have a great family. I cannot explain the gratitude I felt yesterday. I can only continue to help and love these people as human beings and not something different. They are not different. They are struggling and so is everyone. I thank God and Visions so much! I could not have had nor needed anything better than what I had that day. I will never ever forget my day at the Midnight Mission.
Contact us and we’ll give you information on how to Volunteer at the Midnight Mission