Yesterday I did something that I had been meaning to do for a very long time. I volunteered with Heroes in Black to help feed the homeless and hungry.
I didn’t know what to expect, really I had no expectations. I just wanted to help out. From the time I was 13 years old, for approximately 3 and a half years, I spent a fair amount of time on the streets … hungry … unwashed and destitute. I wanted to give a helping hand to honour the strangers that helped me, and for all the times no one did.
What I didn’t know was how it would feel. I fought back tears as I caught a glimpse of my younger self. There is something about that little girl that I still haven’t connected to. Even after writing a book about that period of my life, I have still missed something. I can’t picture me ... physically. I can’t picture the people that I am sure walked me by pretending I wasn’t there. Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it’s not. I hope I never again walk by me ... by a hungry person, without taking a moment to be kind in some way.
As we passed out food, socks, waters, bananas and other articles of clothing ... the smiles and the appreciation for such little things was beyond touching. There was a palpable change in energy, the way that these beautiful souls came to life for something so many of us take for granted everyday.
I was especially struck when I offered more food to a couple of the people who had already finished what they had been given. They refused to take seconds ... I am sure they were still hungry. When I asked “are you sure?” one of them said “please give that to someone who hasn’t eaten yet.” In a society where we hoard material possessions to keep up with and surpass the Joneses, it is easy to lose sight of what is really important.
I volunteered for all of an hour and a half. Something each and every person can afford to do. We all have an hour and a half. I think I received more nourishment than the people we fed. I plan to make this a part of my life, not just with the monthly events held by Heroes in Black, but also in my daily life.
Please take a moment to visit www.HeroesInBlack.ca Even if you aren’t close enough to volunteer you can support this amazing cause in many other ways.
Thank you Matte Black for inviting me to volunteer, what you are doing is truly life changing.