Posts Tagged ‘volunteer’


christmas dinner in the park (pasadena)

December 25, 2008

christmas dinner in the park
the union station homeless services
825 east orange grove blvd.
pasadena, ca 91104
(626) 240-4550 ask permission to use image

eversince i found out about this, i’ve wanted to volunteer at the union station homeless services at pasadena for their thanksgiving dinner in the park event, but couldn’t make it, so i made sure i would make it to their christmas event instead. i talked my friend into going with me (i must confess, i’m not fond of ‘long’ drives :p), and though he didn’t quite enjoy the experience as much as i did, but afterall, it was his first time ever volunteering (more so why i wanted to take him along :p).

the event was supposed to take place at the park, but it started to drizzle in the morning and the event was relocated back to the union station homeless service center instead. abit crowded then, but i don’t think any of us minded at all, a day of giving is a day of giving regardless of where. :)

due to the limited space at the center, and the huge number of volunteers showing up regardless of the rain, after lining up to register, we had to wait in line again to go inside in groups. while in line, *blushed* i was interviewed by an asian media, but when they asked to have my photo taken for the article after the interviewed was done, i declined but i did give them only my last name. :p it really isn’t about getting any recognitions or praises for volunteering. there are so much sadness and so many people who need help in this world, that i truly believe that each one of us can make a difference, no matter how big or how small, in our own ways, within our abilities, to make this world a little bit better to be in. growing up, seeing how much my dad had given back to his families, his communities, his country, and even to strangers…has, as a child, implanted this strong believe in me that life is truly about loving and giving.

so, when it was our turn to go inside to help out, i was very happy and went straight to ‘work’. :) we got in line at the buffet table where a group of volunteers would serve the food on the plates we were then to serve to the ‘homeless’ who were seated on the tables. the variety of warm food looked (and smelled) so yummy, i must say! :) there were roast beef, ham, noodles, mashed potatoes, yams, veggies, chicken, lasagna, macaroni and cheese, variety of bread, desserts and many more. after all the meal was served, i helped out in the kitchen to box the rest of the food for anyone who would like to take extras home. there were so much leftover, and it was quite upsetting to see when so much food went to waste, especially when organizations have been saying how much less donations they’ve gotten as of late and how desperate they are for more donation.

anyway, with the economy downturn this year, many people who aren’t ‘homeless’ also took advantage of this wonderful event bringing their children in to enjoy a warm and lovely meal. everyone got to take home with extras… e.g. boxes of warm meals, bottled water, sodas, etc., and all the kids got to take polaroid photos with a santa claus and took home lotsa awesome new toys. it got me teary to see all the kids walked out of the center with a big smile on their faces and in their eyes. i hope i don’t offend anyone by saying this, but you could always tell who the ‘real homeless’ were…not having taken a shower for a long time, etc. i saw alot of them usually sat in the corner, slightly away from the rest. those made my heart ached and tears in my heart. i just wondered what happened to them. and they’re all just as nice, polite, and thankful for these wonderful warm meals. at times, i was so tempted to give them a hug. perhaps next year, i hope i can bring in some hand knitted scarves as christmas gifts for them. i really think it’s very important to give hope to everyone and let them know that they’re cared for as well and there are still warmth in this world.  so, come by and volunteer if you can.  afterall, thanksgivings and christmas are about loving, giving and sharing, no? :)

(the top left photo was taken while we were in line under the rain waiting to go inside the center. the top right was taken inside the center. and the bottom ones were taken inside the dining area at the end of the event and the cleaning up was almost done.)