Right before Thanksgiving, Jane and I decided to volunteer to feed the homeless in Franklin Park with a local organization called Totally Committed Community Outreach Center (TCCOC). When we arrived and began setting up the food, a long line began to form in the hopes of getting a warm meal and beverage on that very cold morning. Eager to jump in and help, Jane and I began passing out utensils, cups for coffee or tea, and bottles of water. What I noticed as I made my way to the end of the line was that life’s challenges and the people it impacted was more diverse than I would have imagined. The line was filled with African Americans, Asians, Caucasians, and Africans. What was more shocking than the diversity of the line, was that a lot of these folks were the same age as me!
Naturally this sparked many questions for me like how they found themselves in this predicament and what is the City doing to help people rehabilitate themselves to regain their social and financial independence. More importantly, what could I do to help? Looking around Franklin Park and seeing various churches and local organizations distribute blankets, toiletries, and other helpful items to help the homeless stay warm this winter really touched me in a profound way. And that’s when I realized that I could help by doing the same thing! And not just during the holiday season! Buying blankets, gloves, socks, and other supplies to help these folks stay warm in the winter is the least I could do. This also inspired me to volunteer to help feed the homeless again later this month.
Now, I’m no stranger to feeding the homeless and volunteering my time to others during the holiday season. My family often volunteers to feed the homeless for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Realizing that we are very fortunate to have the lives that we do, it only seems right to donate toys, time, and money to help others enjoy the holidays despite the difficult times they face. I’ve always wanted to volunteer more time throughout the year, but as always, life has gotten in the way.
What this experience has given me is a renewed sense of commitment to volunteer work and helping the homeless. It’s so easy to take for granted the things we have access to everyday like a roof over our heads, fresh water, and safety/security.
In an effort to give back, ANN+JANE will have a more active role in serving the community and helping those less fortunate throughout next year. Wondering how you can help? Great! Feel free to donate socks, coats, gloves, earmuffs, and any other items you believe would help the homeless stay warm this winter. We are also taking donations to help buy food, coffee, and tea. All of the proceeds will go towards helping the homeless. Helping others allows for you to serve your community and acknowledge that we are all in this together…not that you didn’t know that already.
If you want to help ANN+JANE with the community service efforts, please email firstname.lastname@example.org!