Each day, many homeless people throughout the United States suffer from food insecurity, struggling to gain access to nutritious food. Though many shelters serve extra meals around the holiday season, the high demand leaves some people hungry. To attempt to mitigate this need, our youth branch, AYUDH prepared and served meals in several local chapters across the United States.
In Houston, Texas, our volunteers led a sandwich-making project: preparing and distributing meals to the homeless. The project spanned two days. First, all the members of the youth group gathered to make 161 meals, which included sandwiches, fruit, and granola bars. The following day, in collaboration with “Food Not Bombs,” our youth volunteers distributed the bagged meals in downtown Houston. One volunteer explained: “Most of us 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.”
While distributing meals, one AYUDH member remarked “It was evident that, more than the meals, people simply needed a smile or words of kindness. We were glad not only to feed the homeless, but also to make them happy.” As the evening continued, our volunteers talked with several homeless people about their experiences, learning of their needs and daily concerns.
The AYUDH chapter from Washington D.C. also took part in sharing food with struggling populations in November. A few dedicated members woke up early one Saturday morning, and cooked a delicious and nutritious meal for fifty to support a local soup kitchen, On December 5th, AYUDH Colorado, gathered to make and serve a meal of pasta, salad and rolls for eighty people at a local homeless shelter in Denver. The shelter supports many local children and families.
In an effort to raise money for Chennai flood survivors, several of our volunteers from AYUDH Michigan held a bake sale at a local university, providing homemade cookies, hot chai, and freshly brewed coffee. They were delighted that many people came for more than just the baked goods. One AYUDH member remarked “Some donated without even purchasing anything!”
As part of the annual AYUDH America’s youth conference, our youth volunteers made a pledge to serve 1008 meals in a year. Through these various efforts, 581 meals were added to the tally this winter season.