By Jessie Liu ‘18 & Safia Hamouche ‘18
Key club members went to the Bowery Mission, located in Manhattan, on February 25 to volunteer and help prepare and serve breakfast to those in need.
“Getting to the volunteer site was one of the hardest parts of the day because the trains were not running on schedule, so we had to transfer to multiple different trains in order to get there,” said Melissa Zhong ‘18. “This caused us to be approximately 20 minutes late due to MTA difficulties, but making it to the shelter and seeing the smiles on many of the people’s faces when we did arrive was well worth the headache.”
The Bowery mission is a homeless shelter than has been up and running since 1879. It provides three meals a day for thousands in need. The homeless shelter also provides programs for a select few that gives them shelter and greater opportunities, such as jobs or steps to help establish a better life for themselves, in return for help around the shelter.
“In order to volunteer, each volunteer had to fill out a waiver and also a Bowery Mission form through a Google docs because there were limited spots. Also, we weren’t allowed to wear revealing clothing,” said Zhong.
Members of Key club volunteered at the homeless shelter from 7:30 am to 9:30 am to serve breakfast, which included cereal, an assortment of fruits, bagels, sweet treats, and juice. The food varies day-to-day depending on what is donated.
“Seeing how much food is donated by so many local supermarkets, stores, and people was so surprising because you never realize that a little compassion and sense of morals can really positively affect a person’s life, even if it’s just for that day, “ said Josephine Leung ‘18 (Key Club President.)
Although the Bowery Mission is predominantly aimed to aid the homeless population, it also offers recovery programs for men and women, and support groups. It is a faith-based shelter, so one of its goals is to give hope to many through religious beliefs.
Christine Tsang ‘17, key club treasurer said, “While waiting the tables, I noticed how the people helped each other; for example, they had a system that they’ve created themselves where if there is unfinished and untouched food, then they will place it in the middle of the table where anyone who is hungry or wants to save it can take it.”
As a volunteer, it opens your eyes to how different situations turnout, it shows you that the people who have the least give from their heart’s.
Tsang said, “I guess, the main reason why I serve in the organization is because I get to see firsthand how I can change a person’s day. For example, a greeting or a simple smile to one of the less fortunate can have a very pleasant and satisfying feeling.”
The members of the Key club served around 200 people in a matter of just an hour and a half, and they’re excited to return to this establishment again. If you want to volunteer yourself, visit the Bowery Mission website, at http://www.bowery.org.