reprinted from the January/February Handful of Salt
By Shar Lichty
I first became actively involved with issues of peace and human rights while a student at SCC. I began to discover ways I could channel my passion for these issues to effect some positive change. Most of my work within these positions involved organizing speaking engagements, forums, and artistic presentations on specific topics related to peace and human rights; however, two annual events that the Student Awareness League organizes to serve the underprivileged were the most rewarding. One of these is the annual Thanksgiving meal prepared and served at the House of Charity on the Tuesday preceding Thanksgiving. Despite having graduated from SCC, I continue to make this a day of service each year.
The frigid cold and icy roads were reminiscent of years past along with the early morning kitchen filled with volunteers, yet this year was different. There were nearly 80 volunteers throughout the day, slightly more than previous years; the number of homeless and hungry that waited in line for hours to be served a hot meal was significantly larger. In total, 415 meals were served that day to homeless individuals eliminating their hunger for a short time.
I left at the end of the day pondering two things. First, how many homeless individuals weren’t served a large, hot meal that day? Second, how will they be fed tomorrow? I feel honored to have been a small part of this day of service which not only filled bellies but put smiles on faces. Reconnecting with the student club that led me on the path to PJALS and meeting so many new people who were also moved to show up that frigid, icy morning to be of service was a bonus.
Over the years I have watched the number of homeless served on this day increase, most considerably this year. Living downtown, I have also watched these numbers increase in my neighborhood. As I read headlines with both parties blaming the other for the economy, deals being made to protect tax cuts for the wealthy, and an all cuts budgets coming down the pipe, I only see these numbers continuing to increase. I have been homeless, living in a tent with four small children while working a full time job. I understand how many families are just one paycheck, one unemployment check, or one budget cut away from being there as well. For these reasons, I passionately continue to work on issues of economic justice, peace and human rights and am grateful for the opportunity to spend a day being of service.