This past week, AYUDH Houston led a sandwich-making project: preparing and distributing meals to the homeless. The two day project started on November 26th when all of the members our youth group gathered to make a meal consisting of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a fruit snack, and a granola bar. They were able to prepare and pack 161 meals. The following day, they drove to Downtown Houston and distributed the meals through Food Not Bombs, an organization known for promoting non-violence by restricting the food served to vegetarian and vegan meals.
Most of us volunteers have never had to worry about not having a meal on the table, a roof over our heads, or a bed to sleep in. However, while serving the homeless, we received a glimpse into such a life. We served people of all ages from all walks of life. Most were happy to receive the food, but some still appeared tired and sad. It was evident that, more than the meals, these people simply needed a smile or words of kindness. It was very rewarding to be able to see a smile spread across their faces and gratitude in their eyes. We were glad not only to feed the homeless, but also to make them happy.
As the service concluded, we began to talk to one particular man who had arrived for a meal, and he ended up surprising us all. What was interesting about the man was that despite his disabilities, such as his developing blindness, he lectured us on the importance of education and even gave us a few tips. “A picture is worth a thousand words,” he said as he continued to put his teachings into action by showing us how to memorize the periodic table of elements. After talking to him, we were all puzzled. How can a man so capable and intelligent end up in such a state of being? We were all reminded that life is very spontaneous and ever-changing. We should never take anything for granted and should always show our gratitude to God for what we have before we lose it.
All in all, this experience was filled with lessons. We felt incredibly blessed and happy to be able to put Amma’s teachings into practice. As Amma always says, “Our duty towards God is compassion and love towards the poor and needy”.
On December 20th, AYUDH Houston distributed meals in honor of the holidays, bringing their total count of meals distributed to 331. Check out our progress with the AYUDH Serve project here.