Well, it’s that time of the year again when our company’s annual Impact Week happens, which is the one week of the year that all of our offices globally volunteer time with those less fortunate than us in our local communities. As our office’s ambassador, I organized three different events for our team this week, with the first one at a local church near Grand Central Station with the organization Coalition for the Homeless. This organization passes out pre-prepared food in containers and bags for those in need, so it’s almost like a “takeout for the homeless” setup.
The event was very straightforward – we prepped the food stations, served the different components of the meal to the people who came in. We were told by the volunteer coordinator that almost all were regulars, sadly, so he recognized many by both face and name, and always wished them well. The saddest thing about continually seeing them day after day, week after week, is that he knew their lives were not getting any better. And that made him really sad. Not only that, but they knew the schedule for each of the places that offered food, the types of dishes/fruit/drinks to expect, and what the food setup would be (e.g. here, it would be all takeout food, but the church two blocks down actually has table service). They all have their routine and route down pat.
As I walked home, I called my dad to see how he was doing, and he asked why I was getting out of work so late. I told him that we were actually ending a volunteer opportunity serving meals to the homeless. He then asked me if my pay raise was reflected in my last paycheck given my promotion, and I said yes. “That’s good,” he said. “Well, I guess it doesn’t really matter since most of your salary is going to Uncle Sam, anyway!” He loves to mention that pretty much every time anyone talks about any type of increase in pay.
I thought for a moment, thinking about what he said. “Well, that’s okay,” I said back to him, “Because I rather be the one serving these meals at the homeless center than on the receiving end, so I’m not going to complain about any of that. I know I have it really good.”
Dad agreed with me, and we moved onto the next topic.