Sarah Florez

A meal makes a difference

By  Sarah Florez, The Catholic Register
  • January 18, 2013

This past December, I had the privilege of helping feed the homeless at St. Francis Table on Queen Street West in Toronto with five of my Grade 12 classmates.

St. Francis Table is no ordinary restaurant. It’s an amazing organization because it’s a low-cost restaurant for the poor, offering one dollar meals to its clients. Every Friday St. Franc i s Table recruits students from different area high schools. My philosophy teacher gave us the opportunity of volunteering and seeing a whole new side to people who are homeless.

Those who successfully run St. Francis Table were all so very welcoming and excited to have six volunteers ready to work during the crucial lunch hour. I met so many volunteers and friends that day who came from different walks of life and who showed me their passion for volunteering through the stories and laughs we shared.

Once I finished serving all those who were seated in my section, I took a step back and began to observe all the people who were eating as if this could be their last meal of the day.

I’m not the emotional type, but it broke my heart when a gentleman asked if he could just slip a muffin into his bag for later that day. At that moment I began to think about the thousands of people in this city who want to have a warm cooked meal or even just a muffin to keep starvation at bay.

At times we all tend to forget how blessed and lucky we are to have food on the table when we get home. I forget also about all the blessings the Lord has given and has brought into my life.

“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words the Lord Jesus Himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than receive’ ” (Acts 20:35).

It’s sad that I forget how I can be helping others by doing just the littlest things.

A gentleman named Sam, the volunteer co-ordinator and all-around team leader at St. Francis Table, was the first person I saw that morning when we arrived. Sam knew exactly how to keep me busy and also knew how to make my peers and I laugh even when we scrambled to take orders for the dinners.

I spoke to Sam about his experience throughout the years, and I could just feel his passion.

Giving back in the littlest ways to our community is something we all can do regularly, whether it be dropping off hand-me-downs to local donation bins or dedicating one day serving meals to the poor.

As teenagers, we’re busy people, but by doing these little deeds we are helping others as well as ourselves. And volunteer work helps us in building a much stronger relationship with God.

(Florez, 17, is a Grade 12 student at St. Basil-the-Great College School.)

 

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