The following was written by AHA Senior Shelby Olson as a trimester-end project in her Campus Ministry team Service Learning course.
In November, I had the opportunity to meet a lady that allowed me to see into the difficult world of struggling with money and hunger. This woman, Kadie, had come to Good in the Hood for the first time, so she seemed very uncomfortable. I had the opportunity to sit down and hear her story of how she ended up at this very special organization. She was 22 years old and already married, living in a small apartment with her husband. Her husband had just recently lost his job, so he had to start working nights at FedEx to supplement her income. She and her husband rarely got to see each other because she worked during the day at her serving job and he worked at night. They were going through a very difficult time in their lives, so she had to turn to organizations that she knew could help her make her way out of it. Although she was having such a hard time, she was one of the happiest and genuine people I have ever met. Although her story was sad, her outlook on life gave me hope.
Throughout my entire life, service has always been a big aspect that I strive to do my very best at. I have always known that I want to make time and put in an effort to help and serve others who need it. When my older sister, Ashlee, came to Holy Angels, she introduced me to the idea of Campus Ministry Team, also known as CMT. Now, although she is quite older than me, that idea of being part of CMT stuck with me all the way till senior year. I knew that I wanted to work towards being part of CMT because of all the service they not only do for Holy Angels, but also for the surrounding community. Joining the Campus Ministry Team was the best decision I could have made for my senior year because it pushed me to work even harder to be part the bigger picture in making our community the best it can be.
Good in the Hood is an organization that tends to the homeless and hungry by being part soup kitchen and part food shelf. It is a non-profit that pays for the food by getting donations and selling new and slightly used shoes around different communities: children’s shoes for $2.00 and adult’s shoes for $5.00. With just $5.00, Good in the Hood is able to support a family of four with food for an entire week. Weekly, families who have signed up with Good in the Hood are allowed to come in, get a warm meal, and shop for the food they need for the week. The amount of food they are able to get from the food shelf does not depend on how much they need it, but by how many people are in their family. We as volunteers are either assigned as people who hand out food in the soup kitchen or we get to be personal shoppers, who help anyone who needs help shopping for groceries in the food shelf.
Serving at Good in the Hood has truly changed my perception of the world around me and the idea surround “hunger” and “needy people”. Many of the people who come through the doors every week do not look like they are in need, but instead look like anyone that you could see or communicate with in your daily life. As a whole, people have a stigma on what it looks like to be hungry or needy, and this experience has truly changed my view on it all. Through volunteering here, I have learned that a little prayer or conversation can truly help a person who is not in the best place, and that sometimes all you can do is be there to listen. Volunteering at Good in the Hood has been a roller coaster of emotions, but I have met so many amazing people that have truly impacted my life, people that I will remember forever. I am very thankful for having this opportunity to be able to work with such amazing people, and I have learned so many lessons that will help me throughout the rest of my life.
As Mahatma Ghandi says, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”. In my time at Holy Angels and at Good in the Hood, I can honestly say that I have found out what type of person I want to be. I strive to be someone who can make a difference in the world, no matter how small it may seem. The smallest things can make the biggest change.