Compassion Cell: Camillus House
On September 10th, I, Angel Castillo, had the privilege of working with Be The Cause, alongside some of my fellow students from Coral Gables Senior High School: Anoop Bhatt, Jorge Valero, Jorge Beltran, Annalays Garcia, and Forest Neal. Our project was to go to the local Camillus House branch here in Miami to assist in feeding the homeless and maintaining the dining area for them.
I can honestly say I have not had an experience more rewarding than this before. My fellow students and I were able to fully grasp how we were not simply giving them food, but also a smiling face, a kind word, perhaps a sense of dignity in that they can have a place to sit down and eat a proper meal. We took the time to wrap silverware in napkins for them to use, we made sure that the tables were immaculately clean for them, that they ALWAYS had a full pitcher of water, and that everything was to their liking, because they deserved it.
That day I was wearing my Coral Gables Senior High t-shirt, and a few of the people we served would make comments about how either they, or someone they knew went there, which started some friendly conversation between them and I. As I kept talking with all of these different cases, watching them smile as we talked about the most simple things, our function as friends, and not just servers became more apparent to me. The appreciation on some of the people’s faces as we did simple things such as handing them a tray and asking “how are you today, sir?” or sitting next to them and asking them if they’re enjoying their food was all that was necessary to show us that efforts such as these to reach out to those less fortunate than us are most definitely worthwhile.
The project was not only a valuable in generosity, but also a lesson in cooperation, as we had to learn to properly organize ourself to make sure the food was served quickly and efficiently. We were fortunate to have the more experienced Camillus House staff guiding us each and every step of the way so that we performed our duties properly. Exercise
Speaking personally, this particular project opened up my eyes to the magnitude of the homeless problem here in Miami, as I honestly did not have a good idea before. To see people coming through the lines multiple times, filling their bags with the food we give them, so that way they could hope to have some sort of supply for a period of time, people so lucky just to get their hands on a chicken wing, young, old, of any and all races, was heartwrenching. It’s true that sometimes to be willing to solve a problem you have to get to see the problem for yourself, and that’s what happened to me. After that Saturday I have become much more willing to work with Be The Cause to attempt and make some sort of difference in these people’s lives for the better.