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What exactly do you think of when you hear the word homeless, shelter, or maybe even the word unsettled? Being homeless means to live without a roof over your head, and being in the streets or even living from house to house. Realistically, unfortunate things happen to people, for instance losing a job, losing a house due to not being able to financially take care of yourself, or even having problems with mental health. Homelessness doesn’t only affect adults, kids are victims as well. A lot of people have formed their own opinions about homeless people, some believing that they chose to be in the position that they are in.
In the United States itself there are around five- hundred and fifty-four thousand people that are without homes. The United States is within high range brackets of families being homeless in the U.S. compared to other countries. Compared to China the United States doesn’t even stand a chance, considering that their rate of homelessness stands at a whopping 2.4 million. Only one and every two hundred people are homeless over in the United Kingdom, while as almost all of our people in the United States struggle to even find shelter. In a normal typical family it’ll usually consist of a mom, dad, and the kids right? Well in American most families that struggles with homelessness are single mothers with at least two children that they have to take care of.
How it works
Another factor that plays part in homelessness for people is education. Getting a higher education after high school isn’t always the best plan in some people case let alone an option. Some families who are now homeless didn’t get the satisfaction to tell their kids that they’ve finished high school, nor to show them their diploma. Not only does homelessness create challenges for those who doesn’t have a home let alone the money nor clothing to attend school, but it also creates barriers and blockages for those such kids. Study shows that only 63% to 90% of homeless youth didn’t complete high school. Did you know that exactly fifty-seven percent of the homeless children are African American. Homelessness has begun to become a big issue within America and a popular topic of discussion.
Child care plays a large role into the homelessness topic. There are some rules and regulations that comes into play when dealing with children and homelessness. With families and kids being and becoming homeless, this impacts them tremendously. Not only does it impact just them, but it also impacts their education, health, sense of safety, and their overall development. There are more than 2.5 million children that becomes homeless each year and over 30 children that represents the historical high in the United States. These type of conditions can have an effect children, for example studies have shown that behavioral and emotional problems, along with them being put at risk of having a highly increased chance of health problems considering their circumstances.
What about the adoption and abandonment rate? What exactly am I talking about, I’m talking about all the non factors and pro factors of exactly what could cause homelessness or exactly what outcomes there are from those who are experiencing homelessness. Considering the statistics and numbers, more than half of those who are homeless are single mothers. Not saying that it’s entirely impossible to raise a child without a home, it’s just not highly favored or approved of in this day in age. Some mothers or even families opts to putting their children up for adoption or simply abandon them and hopes for the best in the long run simply because of their circumstances.
In the state of Michigan itself, there is exactly nine thousand and fifty-one families along with individuals that are homeless. 9.1 out of every ten thousand people in the general population are homeless. Just think, one of those nine thousand or maybe even one out of those five hundred thousands could be a family member of yours. You wouldn’t want to see a family member homeless or struggling to even make it through the day, would you? It’s important to give back as much as you can whenever you can. Just simply think that, that could’ve been you, you could’ve been in that same person’s predicament.
For an instance have you ever considered that there is something you could do to help those who are homeless. You could do the simplest of things such as; volunteering, donating items or clothing, or maybe even just reach out to those and give them a few words of inspiration and some advice. Based on the statics and numbers and exactly how many families gets separated and torn apart because of homelessness, there are exactly 60,000 families with children that are homeless. With that being said there is 7.4 out of every 10,000 families that are homeless. There are three states that has the highest rate of homelessness. The District of Columbia, along with New York, Hawaii, and Massachusetts has had ratings skyrocket within a five-year range from the year of 2012.
Homelessness doesn’t just range within one age range. Homelessness can occur for any person at any given age, both poverty and homelessness doesn’t stop for anyone, you could be 60+ and experience homelessness or poverty.
Homeless Shelters and soup kitchens ties together in a way, both are ways of volunteering. I’ve decided that for my senior project and for my community service I wanted to volunteer at a soup kitchen. Volunteering is the best way to give back to your community besides donating money if you can’t do that. A simple act such as volunteering could go a long way. You never know how much some of your precious time could impact a person or even brighten a person’s day. When you think of the word volunteer, you may just think of the fact that you’re not getting paid, just think of how many lives you’ll change or how many satisfied and grateful people that you’ll encounter upon your community service.
I took three days out of my everyday normal lifestyle and went and volunteered at my local soup kitchen. The soup kitchen I volunteered at is called Capuchin Soup Kitchen, (displayed as fig. 1) its located in a rough neighborhood, but it’s within a community that suffers with some of their own being homeless. I thought the soup kitchen would be like a nightmare or just another disaster within my life. I completely misjudged the soup kitchen aspects of things. Everything that you see on the TV about the homeless and soup kitchen are absolutely wrong and incorrect.
My first day of volunteering I was already considering to myself that I would come to volunteer just because and not because it’s a requirement. You meet people from all different aspects of life and meet the many people who have walked this earth and been through tragedies. My very first day showed me, that not only am I blessed in so many ways, it also showed me that I shouldn’t take anything given to me for granted. I met a very wise man who goes by the name “Red Cap”, he’s a 64-year-old man who has been just such a blessing to others. One conversation with him made me look at things differently.
I worked the breakfast and lunch serving hours, I met “Red Cap” during my lunchtime serving hours. “Not everyone who comes into the soup kitchen is poor, some have jobs and families, they come for the socialization.” said a very wise man who goes by the name “Red Cap”. The 64-year old wise man also pointed out a few things, he pointed out how some many many people that’s steps food inside of the soup kitchen has been incarcerated before. Just because a person has been to prison before doesn’t make them a bad person, infact those who has been incarcerated before and those who comes to the soup kitchen are actually one step ahead of the game. They’re at the beginning of the playing field, they’re merely steps away to getting their lives back on track and together.
When I used to think of homelessness the main thing that projected itself into my mind was, family. What about your family? The volunteering experience at the soup kitchen taught me that even when you think you’re all alone in this world and just ready to give up, that you’re never actually alone and out here by yourself. The soup kitchen brings those who are in need all together, together as a family.
That’s exactly how I felt while volunteering there for those few consecutive days. I felt like I was a part of another family. You’ll see some consistent faces within the crowd, which will make them regulars. Everyone looked so happy and peaceful while being together at the soup kitchen. Not only does it just bring everyone together as a whole, I’ve actually visualized long-lost friends and or family member be reunited with the help of the soup kitchen.
From the staff all the way down to those who comes in to seek assistance and help they’ve shown and taught me a few things. The staff showed me dedication and honor ship. Some volunteer simply just for the love of it, and wants to help out their community in any way possible. The staff gets so much respect on my behalf, because they’re literally super heroes just without the capes. They spend their time preparing, distributing, and slaving over a hot fire everyday just to make sure no one is left hungry and unfed. With the help of the nice volunteers that offers to contribute their time, helping take some staff members load of work. Both me and my partner was one of those very few generous people. We contributed 20 hours out of our everyday life to do something selfless of ourselves for once.
Not only can just everyday people just walk in the soup kitchen and say that they would like to volunteer, major stores can contribute to the donating part of being selfless. What exactly am I speaking of? Major big stores that you’ll never think of donates food and other things. Sam’ Club, Costco and I personally know that my job also donates (Walgreens). Without the help of those big and major food organizations, how else who those you are in need be fed.
Working at or in a soup kitchen can widely open your eyes about a few things. It opens your eyes and answers the ongoing questions that ran through your mind about homelessness and soup kitchens. Some questions that wondered m brain before even volunteering was; How would they look? Are they violent? Are they addicts and or Substance abusers? Being there for those three days answered almost all my questions.
There was definitely some question marks here and there that caught my eye. There were quite a few things that I didn’t expect to learn while working at the soup kitchen. I didn’t know that basically anything can be breakfast food, when you think of breakfast food you think of the basics such as eggs, bacon and or maybe bacon. Not a mix of every breakfast food combination in life.
I learned that food and the word “free” will attract almost anyone. Who, would’ve known that food can be a peacemaker in some cases. Equality was alive and happening in that same very soup kitchen I was volunteering at. No one is treated differently while being in that particular setting, Even volunteers eat in the same dining room as the homeless and the non-homeless of course. Not dividing the kitchen from the seating area, having the volunteers eat along with the guests, and keeping a positive energy in the soup kitchen makes the soup kitchen a great example of a place in which food creates friendship and love.
I’ve had some of the greatest moments and laughs with the people I volunteered with at the soup kitchen. Although, not everyone who works at the soup kitchen volunteered voluntarily. Some may have to work at the soup kitchen because they’re in some kind of trouble with the law. That brings me back to my point that, not everyone is a bad person because they’ve been to jail before, or in this case because they’ve been in trouble with the law. In fact the woman that was there while I was volunteering wasn’t there voluntarily, she was there because she got in trouble with the law.
The woman was an absolute kind and warm hearted person, she simply was just at the wrong place at the wrong time which put her in a bad situation. She literally kept me laughing and smiling the entire time while I was volunteering my time. A bad situation type of predicament can happen to just about anyone, everything happens for a reason though right? Maybe she was put there in that predicament simply for her to meet us while we were volunteering our services and loaning a lending hand there. Now just to refer back to a previous stated statement, Not everyone who comes through the doors of the soup kitchen, rather they work or either come there for food are bad people.
Everyone has a past, but although everyone has a past that shouldn’t define them. People can simply do a turn around and get themselves together. Everyone that worked at the soup kitchen left a mark on me in a good way. The employees there made me think of situations and or the way of life a little differently. No matter the little work that I did there, from washing dishes, (refer to fig. 2.) pouring juice, or simply just aligning desserts along a cookie dough sheet, this all impacted me in a way. There was this one employee there that just had the meanest of the meanest faces, although his facial expression said one thing, once I actually got a chance to have a conversation with him he actually reminded me of my uncle that I just recently lost. My uncle was the kindest and sweetest man that you could ever possibly meet. He was so full of life, and was always smiling no matter all the many challenges that was thrown his way. This same very guy made me look up to him like as an uncle figure from within those three days of just volunteering there. Nonetheless, to say, this simply made me want to dig a little deeper into my research and learn a little more than what I have already yet found out from my own personal experience.
To further research, we need more shelters because during the winter time in Chicago the weather there was deadly and heart breaking all in one. Over 80,000 of our very own were killed because of the harsh weather and the excruciatingly rather cold temperatures that, they had to fight on a day to day basis. Records have shown that, the year of 2019 the beginning of January has been one of the most terrifying and dangerous weather hazardous conditions, that we have yet to ever had experience before. 80,000 people dead and 80,000 lives gone and taken from us within the blink of an eye. People die every day, that’s a standard but to go on a limb to say that more than 80,000 plus people have died because of the crucial weather condition that took place during the winter time.
In conclusion, what we could use more of are shelters, and or more soup kitchens. Shelters could help those who are in need of a place to stay, to keep them warm at night and at least help them bear through their tragedy. Soup kitchens also plays a very large role within the entire epidemic. Not only does the soup kitchen feed those who are in need of food, and that’s struggling with hunger the soup kitchen that I volunteered my time at accepted donated clothes to give to those who seriously needed the clothes.
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