"We put on a festival for all the children of a village. Roughly 400 children. Their eyes lit up when they were offered poorly done face painting, stickers, cheap cotton candy and even something as simple as a bandaid. We gave out treat bags, t-shirts, and shoes to all the children. Later that day, we gathered sugar, flower, beans and rice and handed them out to different families in the community. It was amazing how thankful they were for such a small offering and how many times they asked GOD to bless US when all we want is for them to be blessed."
"Not knowing quite what to expect, we piled into the back of the pick up truck with garbage bags full of food for the homeless. We knew that when a man or women on the side of the road was spotted, we stopped. What I didn't know what that within 5 min of driving, the truck would stop quick. It stopped under a bridge for five men; happy men, happy for a ham sandwich and a bag of chips that some of us found "questionable."
We continued our journey through the town, stopping at what seemed like every few feet, for people of all ages. Children ran from blocks over to retrieve food for their families. Mothers with children, and prostitutes with needs, retrieved the food, blessed us with the love of God, and went on their way. But the way wasn’t to a home or family. It was to the PLASTIC BAG WE MOST LIKELY HANDED THEM WITH THE LUNCH BAG. We take for granted every single day how blessed we are to come home to running water, heating and air, a bed, and most importantly a family. For many of the people we came into contact with, all they had was each other (strangers in the same situations) and the dream of a better life. In Paducah, “homeless” means you might have a family member or friend you can stay with until you get back on your feet, and in the worst case, you can find a shelter to spend the night in. Not here. Here you find a street corner where you hopefully don’t get beaten, or killed. But if you sleep in the park with maybe another homeless amigo, you have it good.
Halfway through our trip, we stopped to feed two people who were staying at a park. One of which was an elderly woman. When the truck stopped, she didn't stand to head over to the truck so a translator hopped down and took her a bag of food. Looking into the eyes of an elderly woman who reminds you so much of your grandmother and then having to watch her fade out of sight while driving away and leaving her all alone on a cold, hard bench is probably one of the hardest things I have ever done. Her smile and sweet eyes will forever be burned into my mind.
Under a lit semi-loading dock, two men slept. One on the drug of choice - construction glue - and one just sleeping, both trying to pass the night, they hopped up for the food. At this point, I was obviously upset and could not even comprehend the fact that this mans pillow was a water bottle, most likely off the street. But the knuckle bump he gave a leader, Jeff, for a piece of candy, proved to be upsetting because how do you even think of candy when you’re body is fighting off starvation?
The 6th person to get a bag was, I’d suspect, a 12 year old boy. Running after our truck, our team stopped and gave him a crummy sandwich, bruised apple and maybe a sweet treat. “gracias, gracias”, he said, smiling beaming. But there is nothing like thinking, what a sweet boy, then realizing, here he could be adopted to a gang family, or beaten in the same night for the sandwich bag we gave him. All while we are complaining on the plane about our AP homework, or maybe the practices we have to go back to. This 12 year old will never know love, until someone takes him into the loving home he deserves, the home God has in store, and I believe is out there for not only him, but all those surviving on the street."
~ Tonight's notes were sent to us by students, Morgan Wiggins & Anna Hughes