Stepping Into The Shoes of The Less Fortunate

Walking into a homeless shelter with food, clothes, and smiles produces ear to ear grins.

After my experience working at St. Patrick’s Food Shelter in Newark, I know how much my work is appreciated.

While setting up food and plates with a smile, I received gracious grins in return. After flashing a smile to one man, he replied, “You’re smiling, and that makes me smile.”

Alyssa Gentile, a sophomore at the Academy of Holy Angels, attended this trip to the shelter with me and has gained a new insight on life. She learned to be grateful for the food that she is given. She will also stop making assumptions about people, step into their shoes, and look at life through the eyes of others.

Pascack Hills High School sophomore Alexa Hirschberg, who plans on working with homeless people in the future, has learned much from her experience volunteering with those less fortunate. While working with a homeless man, Alexa learned that a house is just a structure, like a roof over your head. A home is where you have family, and loved ones, and people who care about you. He is houseless, not homeless.

Those who live in shelters can teach valuable life lessons to us all, like loving everyone, not being judgmental, and being fine with only simple materials. They are satisfied with a small, but “just enough” portion of food they receive, and are grateful for random acts, and a simple “hello.”

By volunteering our time and hearts, we learn to appreciate others and experience a warm sense of fulfillment.