Last week Link Year had the privilege to volunteer at the Hope Center located in the inner parts of Kansas City. I have never participated in work like this before, so personally I was very excited! There are many benefits to volunteering in the inner cities. You have the opportunity to touch so many lives and encourage so many people. I never even considered the benefits volunteering can offer me.

The second day we were in KC the staff told us they had prepared lunch for us. This was a relief because all of our other meals had to be purchased using tickets that we were given! So a free meal had never sounded better! We got into our family groups and were told to draw a piece of paper from a bowl. Each piece of paper had a 1, 2, or 3 written on it. My group was the only group with a number one, so we went first.

Adam walked us into the room, and as we entered I noticed three different set ups. On one table there was all you can eat Chick-fil-a, another area of couches with plates of pb & j, and on the floor were two big bowls of rice and beans. My group drew #1 so we were directed towards the Chick-fil-a table! Awesome right? Out of all the food choices chickfila was the best one, so we got lucky! Or so I thought… We sit down and immediately are waited on hand foot by the Link Year staff. It was sort of awkward but I got to eat Chick-fil-a so I dealt with it.

I loaded my plate with nuggets and was just about to stuff my face when the second group walked in. When I saw their faces of disappointment and anger, I felt uncomfortable eating in front of them. And that feeling only got worse when the third group came in and saw their community bowl of rice and beans. At that point I was told that I couldn’t share the surplus of nuggets, and I was facing where I could see everyone watch me eat. It’s safe to say that this illustration was starting to set in.

As I watched the other groups eat, I began to realize that this is how our world works every day. It’s so easy to not think about the starving less privileged families when they aren’t right in front of your face. But when those circumstances are happening in the same room it begins to hit home. I know have a whole new view on how our society works and how I can help change it. 

- Emily Smith