Since I haven’t done my service yet I am in a little bit of a different position than others but I can say what I am excited about and what I am hoping to get out of doing my service. I am doing my service at a place called Our Daily Bread which is a food kitchen in downtown baltimore. It is a very popular place for many Baltimore citizens that are either homeless or have a very low income. I did service there a couple of times in high school so I am excited about doing it for this class. It is a very special place to me and some of the things that I learn there and some of the stories that I hear there are life changing to me.
I am excited to have the chance to give back to the Baltimore community by serving meals to those that are in need. I personally think the coolest thing about Our Daily Bread is what you might think when you see one person but when you start talking to them and they tell you their story and how they are really no different than you. It makes me realize that with different circumstances this could be any of us.
The first poem that I read was “Mending Wall” by Robert Frost. The main thing that I took away from this poem was how the narrator wants to knock down the wall but his neighbor wants to keep it because in lines 27 and 45 he says, “Good fences make good neighbors.” The neighbor is reluctant to take down the fence because he believes that a fence will give each other boundaries. We need boundaries to maintain harmony; however, there are times where it might make sense to tear down a wall. I see a lot of the same thing at Our Daily Bread because sometimes the volunteers don’t want to knock down their wall and talk more to people than they have to. When both the volunteers and the clients tear down their walls and start talking to each other, we begin to realize that we are more similar than we thought.
The next poem I read was “Accident, Mass. Ave.” by Jill McDonough. This in the same way is very similar to “Mending Wall”. The woman thinks she gets hit by another woman in her car and as a result gets out and starts yelling at this poor little woman for no reason. On lines 6-8, she says, “It being Boston, I got out of the car yelling, swearing at this woman, a little woman, whose first language was not English.” She doesn’t know anything about this woman and later finds out that the woman didn’t even hit her. This is also very similar to Our Daily Bread in that people judge a book by its cover when looking at people. When they get to know the people they are serving they end up being regretful and glad that they got to meet the person.
The next poem I read was “Learning to Read” by Frances E. W. Harper. Blacks are stereotyped against and not encouraged to be able to read because that will make them smarter. In lines 9-12, the narrator says, “But some of us would try to steal A little from the book, And put the words together, And learn by hook or crook.” This shows that despite others trying to prevent them from reading, that they they were determined to better themselves by learning how to read. This is also similar to the people at Our Daily Bread. In some of their stories they tell, I realize how much they want to be better people. They want to learn, they want to work, and they want to be more productive citizens in the city of Baltimore.
The final reading that I read was “The Service of Faith and Promotion of Justice in Jesuit Higher Education” by Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach. There are a lot of things that I could talk about with this. However, the main point I want to touch upon is the point that Fr. Kolvenbach makes about how the differences in the world today come as a result of the discrepancies in the quality of education. On Page 31, he says, “This rift, with its causes in class, racial, and economic differences, has its root cause in chronic discrepancies in the quality of education.” As a result of this people tend to get treated differently. This ties into the point I have been making with the other poems about Our Daily Bread. These people were dealt hardships that brought them to Our Daily Bread, but if they were given the opportunity of education, they would increase their odds of overcoming their misfortune.
If we could just give people like this a chance instead of judging them I believe they could be very successful in life. Working at Our Daily Bread has taught me not to judge a person by his or her appearance. Most of the clients at Our Daily Bread would rather be serving meals than receiving them. By working on this service project, hopefully I can explore ways of making that happen.