On Saturday, November 22, the Teens for Unity of Los Angeles met in the morning at Saint Robert’s Food Pantry in Venice, CA. This food pantry operates on weekends when other facilities serving the homeless are closed. Our plan was to spend the morning serving the homeless and afterwards, walk four blocks to the beach where we would spend time together.
With a beautiful sky above us, we were ready to begin the day. There were 15 of us teens and four adults from all over Los Angeles and Orange County: from Valencia to Anaheim and from Riverside to Inglewood. For some, it was the first time that they were participating in a Teens for Unity event. Before we actually began to serve, we welcomed the new teens with some games to break the ice and to create friendships.
Once Elaine, the coordinator of the food pantry, arrived with some food for the homeless, she explained what was going to happen that day. In preparation for the various tasks, we divided into four groups. The first group prepared sandwiches and food bags, another group cleaned parts of the building, one group organized the food pantry, and the last group prepared and served coffee and sweets.
The morning went by quickly as everyone was working together. The homeless started to arrive at around 10 A.M. and we served them some coffee, cakes, cookies,and more. At around 11 A.M., food bags were distributed to the homeless, who were in the backyard. By noon, those cleaning the building had almost finished with the offices, bathrooms and the hallways on the first and second floors; while those taking care of the pantry had refilled the shelves with donated items from the week.
A little after noon, it was all hands on deck serving a hot meal that had been prepared by the adult volunteers. The meal consisted of turkey, green beans, mac-and-cheese, and ham that some of us were serving on plates, while others were handing them out in the backyard. The people we served were very grateful of having a hot meal allowing us to begin some conversations. After we finished serving, we asked Elaine for a picture with her and she proposed to take it in the backyard where some of the homeless joined in for the photo.
It had been a beautiful experience to spend our time serving our brothers and sisters in need and after all that work we were ready for some time to relax at the beach. We walked the four blocks that separated us from the ocean and there we did a sand castle and played some sports for a couple of hours.
At around 3 pm. we decided to celebrate Cecilia’s, a Teen4Unity, patron saint feast day with some frozen yogurt by the beach.
Before saying our goodbyes, we set our next appointment on December for a beach day where we can invite our friends and ask them to bring clothes and blankets that we will take to the homeless in Fresno, California, during the next Teens for Unity community service project in January 2015.