Thursday, November 4, 2010
An Experience at a Community Meal Site
Going to a local meal site, I was struck by the liveliness. I have been to a soup kitchen in a big city before, and the experience was totally different. There, people were handed disposable trays and sat a long, cafeteria style tables. There was socialization, but there were also a lot of loners who did not speak to others. At this meal site, people were served their food on plates by volunteers and had were able to make decisions about what to eat. The tables were circular and there was a lot of conversation. It felt very family dinner like. People checked in with each other and asked how things were going. It was clear there were relationships and bonds formed around this meal site. I saw people I knew and some said “Hello” and some did not. I wondered if they felt some shame or discomfort in this meeting. I saw some I did not know, but recognized from seeing around town. When leaving, I noticed some people leaving in cars and some people with large plastic bags leaving to walk around town. It definitely broke my perception that this meal was just for the homeless and devastatingly poor. This diversity I feel is key into breaking down the stigmas and negative misconceptions that many have about people living in poverty.