Volunteered At Glide Memorial Church

"I was homeless, but I wasn’t hopeless. I knew a better day was coming."
Chris Gardner

As I have mentioned before, I was a high school dropout and a runaway teen without a real home. Because of this and because I am a native San Franciscan, one of the things I feel most sensitive to is homelessness in this city.

Since 1969,
Glide Memorial has run a daily free meals program that serves three meals a day, 364 days a year to the city's poor, homeless, and hungry. This meal program relies on the help of 60 volunteers a day. This morning, I was one of those volunteers.

A few months ago, I looked up how to do this online, and as it turns out, it's really easy. I signed up by going to
this website and finding a date with availability. This is the main eating area. A line starts at the doorway where trays are handed out. The men that receive the meals then find a seat at one of these tables.

I was one of four assigned to the Coffee House, which is a separate room where women, families and those in wheelchairs go to get their meals. Instead of standing in a line to get their meals, the people in this room just take a seat at one of the tables, and a volunteer (like myself) brings a tray directly to them. We refill coffee and water as well as get them extra sugar, salt, or pepper. When they're done, we clean up. We had three boxes full of trays, and when we eventually ran out, we had to march over to the main room to get more. We repeated this until about 9 o'clock.

In the hallway, a really cool mural of San Francisco is painted along this wall. The Palace of Fine Arts, Chinatown, City Hall, Coit Tower, and the Golden Gate Bridge are just a few of the landmarks depicted.

I was really impressed with how streamlined the volunteering program works at Glide. Perhaps I shouldn't be since they've been running this program for over forty years. Like some of the other volunteering experiences I have had this year, I really wish I had done this sooner because it isn't difficult to sign up at all.

It was a lot of running around and very tiring, but it was also extremely gratifying to make someone else's life a little bit easier. I admire what Glide does for people in need, and they do it on a daily basis. I have been very lucky in my life, and to give a couple hours of my time to serve a few warm meals to those less fortunate than myself is the least I could do. I really enjoyed doing this, and I am definitely going to do it again.

Related Links:
Sign up to volunteer at Glide
Donate to Glide
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