It's always ironic when serving local communities ends up being serving food to the needy. On this occasion VT Seva went out to the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen where we handed out meals to hundreds of the local population. The guests ranged from small children to the elderly, all graciously accepting of our efforts. Interestingly enough, everyone enjoyed the dessert portion of their meals - I guess sweetness is not something you really grow out of!
While I was standing in the line to pick up the next tray of food to be served, a gentleman struck up a conversation with me. "Are you all college students?" I explained that while the younger volunteers were all high schoolers, I was the only higher education student, that too in medical school. Curious he asked where I studied and why I was helping out. I mentioned that since I study in the Camden/Philadelphia area the majority of my future patient population would be similar to the guests of the food kitchen. Immediately the man's face lit up and he smiled. Then he had a more important question, "how do you say your name?"
No matter what age we are or what backgrounds we come from, there is one thing that is common to us all - we need food. Such experiences not only help us develop lasting relationships with communities, they also expose us to a side of life we might not otherwise encounter. I likely will not see that man in the future again but if I do I would be happy to shake his hand and tell him my name again.
Bharani K Puskur
Bharani is one of our star volunteers from New Jersey and is a recipient of US President's Volunteer Service Award for his outstanding volunteer service in the community.