Sunday, March 18, 2012

San Francisco Day Two!

Hey everyone! It's Rachael and Jasmine here today! This morning we were up before the sun, leaving the hostel at about 6:30 am to head out to Glide. Glide is a church based non-profit organization that has an amazing program set up for serving meals to the community. We arrived there after about a ten minute walk and right away met some of the awesome workers at Glide. We started off by setting up the tables with beverages and helping prepare the food. It was really interesting to meet and talk to all the great people involved in this organization. Many of the volunteers live in the community and frequently donate their time at Glide. They serve over 600 people each meal time, every single day. Once the people arrived, it got pretty busy. Both of us were involved in serving on the floor, which meant we helped out with cleaning and refilling drinks, along with talking to the people from the community. It was such an amazing and humbling experience. It really opened our eyes to the topic of food justice, and how easy to make a difference. It's stunning how easily people's situations can change, and it is important to be respectful and understanding of everyone. Although it's great to be volunteering in San Fran, it's also important that we realize there are so many people so close to home that need our help also. We hope we can continue with our serving learning in the future at home.

After serving breakfast and eating it at Glide, we went to the church service in the upstairs of the church. It is a Methodist domination church, but definitely not the traditional church services we all were used to. Right in the beginning of the service, a man stood up and said "Here at Glide, nobody s tolerated, but EVERYBODY is celebrated." This quote really had an impact on our group because it hit home for us that everyone is this congregated was accepted and loved for who they were. Many of the groups the church provides are based on helping domestic abuse victims and promoting support LGBT community. There was a speaker named Susan who told us her amazing story of how she found Glide and got over her addictions, found a place to stay, and began school, all with the help of the Women's Shelter. There are classes about how women should learn how to stop just surviving and to start living. It is so important that these types of organizations exist because everybody needs a safe place in life. The service itself was so full of life and love. There was a huge amazing choir that sang and lots of clapping and hugs. Overall, none of us could stop smiling and the happiness and joy was radiating off of every single face in the packed congregation.

After church we decided to go on an exploration adventure. Walking in the streets of San Francisco was a cool experience. It was sad and eye-opening, though, because the numbers of homeless people are so large. A statistic we read from a street paper sold to us by a women we met on the streets said that there are 1,100 beds for 14,00 homeless people. This leaves a vast majority of homeless people without a place to sleep at night. This is a lot different than the Twin Cities because in Minnesota the weather is such a main issue that housing is almost more important than food, whereas in California the main focus is feeding the people.  We had a great time exploring, and after supper we had a very touching and observant reflection. This is important to the learning part of service learning, and wow did we all gain so much knowledge and growth. It's hard to believe we've only had one day of service so far, and we're all very much looking forward to what the rest of the week has in store for us!

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