Terri's Beautiful Wisdom: "Being on a first name basis with the homeless is a gold star in my book!"

 Student Service Project Reports Summer 2016

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” –John Bunyan
            For my service project I fed the homeless with my church small group. This is something we do monthly, not just for this project! We go to different places around Tallahassee that are known places for the homeless to hangout. We each bring something different so the homeless have a full cooked meal. We tend to frequent the picnic area at Lake Ella. There are so many less fortunate people there. I think due to the large public bathroom and covered areas there. I always bring the salad. I know for the homeless it is hard to get vegetables and after taking nutrition at TCC I know how important it is so I always want to make something vegetable based. A woman that works with me has a husband who works at a food distributor. Whenever they have extras they bring it to the office and I will take some for the homeless. Once there was about 10 boxes of Cheez-its that I took to the folks at Lake Ella. I know that it isn’t the healthiest but they were thankful! Just about 3 weeks ago there was a whole entire rack of bread at work. Not even kidding probably 45 loafs of bread. I took them to Lake Ella and every person just about go three whole loafs. I love to feed the homeless because of the humbling affect it has on people. You can be having the worst day of your life and it is still better than theirs and you always realize that when you feed the homeless. I go almost every month and I still complain about life in between volunteering. Sometimes you do not realize just how good you have it. When I have kids I will make sure I take them to do things like this as soon as they are able to walk because I want them to learn to be appreciative about everything. Sometimes when we feed the homeless I notice there are at times people who are little off. I have a slight obsession with learning about mental illnesses and I can tend to tell when people have one. Once I notice a homeless person with one I go straight to talk with them. It is what I love. A lot of other people get scared when they see someone in a psychotic state and shy away but they are also just people who need human interaction as well. When I finish college I hope to be able to get a nursing job on the behavioral health wing so that I can deal with people like this daily. It is truly my passion. When you feed the homeless and see people in this state you can’t help but feel awful for them. There is something that they can’t control and they can’t even get help for it. A lot of the time it is war vets with PTSD. They are always my favorite because they have the best stories. When I talk to them I can’t help but think about how they served this entire country and now they are homeless. It just shows how unappreciative America as a whole is. Speaking with these guys is also why I now contribute to the Wounded Warriors project. I got my parents in on it, too! I think more people need to realize how important helping others is. You know if you were homeless and slept at Lake Ella you would want a home cooked meal every now and then. I get the most frustrated when I see families at Lake Ella throwing bread at the ducks when there are homeless people right behind them that need it way more. It makes my skin crawl! Most people have all kinds of cans in the back of their pantry they do not even know are there. They could just drop those off at Lake Ella and make someone’s whole day and it sucks that people do not realize that. I unfortunately do not have any pictures. When my small group feeds the homeless we leave our cell phones in the car. We have a strict no technology rule.  It helps make the experience more enjoyable. A little face to face never hurt anyone. To me this rule is one of the most important factors. You really learn about people this way. I just about know everyone’s name by heart. Being on a first name basis with the homeless is a gold star in my book! The bible says “those who bless others will be abundantly blessed” and I have never felt more blessed.