This week has flown by and we hope that you are realizing as you read the little posts we have done how crazy and exciting this week has been. Each day we have been out of the hostel from 7 in the morning till 10 at night. This schedule has not allowed us the luxury of communicating but this trip has changed us. It’s changed our perceptions and challenge us to think of the world bigger than our surroundings. It has lead us to understand how blessed we are and where we need to make changes in our own lives. As we finish the trip we will share more of the details but the best thing to sum it up is we are the change we want to see in the world.

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On Monday morning, we all went to the DC Central Kitchen to help cut vegetables and open up cans of mixed fruit. We did all the behind the scenes work in the kitchen. DC Central Kitchen is unique because it produces enough food to send out to different shelters and charities. This kitchen makes enough food for 5,000 people a day!

After the DC Central Kitchen, we went to the National Coalition for the Homeless and listened to two very inspiring advocates of homelessness. The first man was Eric Sheptock. He is one of the most known advocates of homelessness in D.C. He tells his story about how he became the face of advocating all the issues that the homeless population faces in D.C. Another man that spoke to us was Steve Thomas. He has spoken at Penn State Abington before. His story of how he became homeless made me almost cry. He was a former cocaine addict.  It was different from Eric’s and it was good to hear from a different perspective. Both presentations were emotional and inspiring and it was great to actually hear from people that were advocating homelessness.

After the presentations, Eric took the whole ASB group to different parts of D.C. and we handed out sandwiches to homeless people. We went to the Occupy D.C. area and another area nearby. I think the most shocking thing to us was the homeless people. We could not tell who was homeless and it really surprised us when we found out certain people were homeless when they stood in line for a food truck. 

Overall, it was an extremely productive day for the ASB group. We gave out sandwiches and provided service in the D.C. Central Kitchen and listened to two great presentations.

 

Meeting Eric Sheptock!

ASB group with Eric Sheptock

Saturday:

We met on campus at 12:30 due to a few students having Saturday classes.  Of course it was a smooth day and we were on the road in fifteen minutes…I am laughing as I write this because of course that was not the case.  Leaving for a trip like this takes time and our exit from campus took longer than I would like but once we got going it was great. We were lucky and the weather did hold.  Our first hurdle is that due to an overwhelming schedule of the students, the items that were collected were not bagged, so that was the first thing we had to do before we packed the van.

We have a fifteen person van with ten people and those vans are limited on space.  It really is like playing the video game tetris and we have to fit into the creases and spaces of the van every item of what we have brought.  We do that first and then we load in some of the service items, after that the people and more service items.  It is a tight ride to DC but so worth it.  The Penn State Abington community really supported the students cause and it was great to see about 8 huge trash bags full of donations.

Once we got on the road it was pretty much smooth sailing….well except for the detour because our front seat navigator didn’t let us know ..she really wasn’t a good person to be the navigator and wasn’t following closely.  Thank god for GPS it rerouted us and we were only about an half an hour more than what we expected.  We made one quick stop at 7-11 and we quickly realized with this group, that letting them know how much time they had would be crucial for this trip….

So those were our travels.

And so we arrive…

YEAH….the students are excited and when we arrive at the Shalom house they are ready.  They meet Anna our Amizade coordinator and she is super lovely and excited and it is infectious.  Due to our schedule and our packed week we decide that this is a night in to chill and relax.  We get settled and dinner gets started.  This is our Orientation night!! There are some great discussions and a quick realization that Y is a hard letter to come up with adjectives for.  Our schedule is packed but other than the early mornings everyone seems excited to dive right in.  This is a great group and as everyone writes you will see their perspectives and their journey.  I want to let Dhara write so I will let her fill you in on today’s excitement and add some comments on the end.  I hope to have pictures up for you by tomorrow as well.  It really has been a great two days and I hope we do a good job in sharing how amazing this experience has been.

I cannot believe that we are here.  Alternative Spring Break is 2 days away.  The students are excited and so am I.  We look forward to sharing our journey with you and I hope that you check in on Saturday as we start our journey to DC.  We will be learning a lot and sharing in experiences while we learn about hunger and homelessness.