Written by Wade, Aria, Mikela, and Isabel
It's not every day you wake up on the streets. We ended the really long and arduous experience of the 48 hour Plunge into homelessness, and reflected on it at the National Coalition for Homelessness. Soon after a short break to rest, eat, and shower, we left an hour later from getting back to our hostel, setting out to serve at an arm of the DC Central Kitchen. We ended up at the wrong branch of DCCK- the one in the opposite part of town. Oops. Once we got there we split into groups, and worked on the different tasks covered by the kitchen, such as getting food ready to send out to DC public schools, and the many shelters around our Capitol. The people at DCCK were a joy to work with, very nice and welcoming. Even though we tried to stay late for the time lost, we had to head out eventually, making our way back to the Hostel. Some unwound, and some made dinner. Our group all pitched in to make dinner a success. We then took time to reflect as a group on everything that had happened in our day. Here's our own personal reflections on the day:
Isabel: It was an overwhelming day, just to be quite honest. Beautiful, thoughtful, and interesting both because of our discussions, our service, and wrapping up the Plunge, but it was hard to keep going and keep having a good attitude. For that, I relied heavily on how wonderful this group is, supporting each other, challenging each other, and keeping the momentum going. I think we had a good day overall, and I'm really looking forward to not waking up on the streets tomorrow. Tomorrow will be even better.
Wade: I honestly had a great day! It was warm, which was more than could be said for the two days before. Despite sleeping in the doorway of a Macy's, I woke up feeling rested and ready. The reflection on our experience of the plunge into homelessness was really powerful and left me thinking in many new ways about homelessness and those experiencing it. The shower I took was the best I had felt in days. Working at the DCCK was really fun and we got a lot done. Dinner was great because it gave us all an opportunity to relax. Overall, It ended up being a really busy, positive, crazy day.
Aria: All in all, today was quite a productive day. Despite being smelly from not having showered in two days, our collective productivity today in DC Central Kitchen, as well as the genuine interactions between myself and the employees there, today was an overall rewarding and beautiful day. After returning to the hostel, I showered (which was more than needed), and proceeded to eat my two day old Pakistani dinner and also indulged in the tachos (YOU GUYS SHOULD TRY THESE MINIATURE BITES OF HEAVEN) that few of my group members prepared. I concluded the shared portion of my day with a group reflection, and proceeded to conclude my night with my own internal reflection.
Mikela: It feels like today started significantly longer than 17 hours ago. After returning to the hostel, we had one hour until it was time to meet in the lobby to leave for service. I was frustrated with that because I was entirely exhausted and thought we deserved an afternoon to ourselves to decompress from the homelessness challenge. There were blisters on my feet which made the walk to DCCK even worse than it would have been otherwise. A lot of us almost fell asleep on the bus, and at some points we laughed hysterically for no reason at all, other than fatigue. Once we began working, everything changed for me. I enjoyed being there to complete the tasks that were asked of me, and I appreciated interacting with the people who were around me. It wasn't until after we left that I realized my feet hadn't hurt the entire time we were working- I was so focused on our job that I didn't have time to think about my pain. I made the trip back to the hostel with an opposite demeanor than I did on the way to DCCK. I had meaningful conversations with our group, and I laughed and was joyous. I like my experience today because it's an example of how doing service is just as valuable to the volunteer as it is to the person receiving aid.