A few years back I took a trip with some of my friends to St. Louis, Missouri, to help out homeless shelters and give food to the homeless. One of my long time fears, meeting the homeless, would soon come to a screaming halt. Joe, my best friend, sat by me on the excruciating bus ride up there. The trip, being extremely long, seemed like it took forever to arrive in St. Louis. When we first arrived to St. Louis, we drove straight to the homeless shelter and started laboring. I became forced into organizing shoes by the head honcho at the homeless shelter. I told the leader that I didn’t care which job I had to do, as long I received a job to do. On the other hand, Joe got to pick the job he wanted, and he picked one of the best jobs at the shelter. My job started out good, minus the horrific smell of the disgusting shoes. When I almost finished the sorting, the shoes stopped matching up and I couldn’t find pairs of anything. So I asked the guy in charge, “What do I do if I can’t find a match for some of these shoes?” He replied, “Just don’t worry about them, and skip to the next pair.” “When I am done, where do you want me to put all of them?” I asked. “Just tell me, and then I will put them up for you,” he informed me, “then you can go help Joe finish his job.” “Alright,” I replied with excitement. I really wanted to go help Joe, because he had one of the coolest jobs. Joe’s role included cutting the bottoms off of bottles, and inserting the parts he didn’t cut off into one another. The bottles he spliced together would be used to make houses. The homeless could use these bottle houses to make a shelter for themselves. After I finished my job, I helped Joe finish up with his. When we finished, the leader informed us that they put sand into the bottles to help with the temperature of the house.
The leader said “It keeps the house cool in the summer, but it also keeps it warm in the winter.”
Being both anxious and excited, we spent the second day organizing supplies, and then ventured out to the homeless communities. I was ready to go see how the homeless lived, but I didn’t really want to meet them. However, Joe didn’t seem nervous at all. He wanted to witness the homeless way of life, because he read about them all the time.
We made sandwiches to start off the day; we slapped together meat, cheese, and bread. It may not sound like much, but the individuals receiving it did not care how much they received. Most homeless people, not part of a shelter or a community, have a hard time knowing where their next meal will come from. We bundled up blankets after we made the sandwiches, and we threw some winter jackets in to our van. Once we bundled up all of the supplies, we received an explanation of our possible encounters on the trip.
After the explanation, we loaded up and headed out to the first stop. The moment we pulled in, my heartbeat sped up like a speedometer of a car. The place surprised me, because the community lived in an unused railroad tunnel. Blankets, put together in some way, covered the exterior of the tunnel. The coldness outside changed when we crossed the threshold of the blankets, and it suddenly warmed up. The place was actually quite nice. The moment I walked in, I saw the “homes” that…