Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Our Daily Bread

ODB is a hot meal program that serves anywhere from 500-1,000 people every day. ODB is less personal meal program in which since it serves so many people in a two hour block the turn over of people moves very quickly. The men and women who come for a meal eat their food fairly quickly and then give their seat to the next in line. I know this is the most efficient way to feed a great number of people but it does take away from the personal interaction and the individuality of a person.

The stereotype of people hanging around on the corners in Baltimore was not a good site to see when tourists are visiting or when business men and women look out of their corporate building windows. The people who are marginalized are viewed as an imperfection to Baltimore. Many of these people I have seen numerous times through my various service experiences, some on a weekly basis and they are not people who should just get tossed aside. Imperfections can be beautiful, and if people took the time to see those living in poverty as real people them maybe we would get somewhere.

In our more recent reading I have been able to connect the Shakespeare poem, “My Mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun” about how the imperfections of beauty coincide perfectly with the relocation of ODB. Shakespeare reveals through the poem that beauty is in all things even in imperfections because real beauty lies in the truth of reality not fantasy. Many people found the homeless men and women lining up around the block at ODB to be an eye sore on the city. This shows how the people of Baltimore view those who are jobless, homeless, or trying to survive off a living wage. The city wants to hide the situation of poverty that is an obvious problem by moving them to the outskirts. It also becomes more of an imposition on those who need food to walk or find transportation all the way to one end of town. The new ODB building is absolutely gorgeous, very sophisticated but very expensive. Why does all the money go into a building when it can be spent to actually make a difference in people lives?

In analyzing my service experience at Our Daily Bread I have taken the time to question my recent service sites and to reflect on my personal feelings and how my life has been affected. Most of my service recently has created a feeling of confusion in my life and what I am doing in my life so I can help make other peoples lives better. Its always hard too because when I am serving I am happy and hopeful for the decrease of the number of people who are hungry in Baltimore, but I also realize there is more I could be dong. We are taking strides to feed those who are at risk but after I leave ODB I realize all things I am blocking ignoring. I begin asking myself why these people are homeless? What can I do to help those who are homeless? Why are they not getting any help from the government? My attitude towards the social concerns, the injustices of our society and my feelings of the city have change drastically.

The Kolvenback speech really urges us as student of a Jesuit education to open ourselves up to learning new things in unfamiliar situation. It is true that we must take initiative and be courageous in our future endeavors. It is important to appreciate things around you. Service is a lifestyle. It develops into a habit such as the small things like knowing the name of one person on the Boulder staff or meeting the people who live next door to you. I feel like I have challenged myself in unfamiliar territory but I am still aspiring to make service my lifestyle. Kolvenback said that we should all show “love to be expressed not only in words but also in deeds.”

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