As I am here in California doing my internship, I am away from my family. Add in the fact that my parents live in west Asia, and my siblings multiple time zones away, I ended up just staying put for thanksgiving. However, I had no idea what to do. In previous years, I had always volunteered to work on Thanksgiving to make more money. To avoid cooking, I would usually stop by a fast food restaurant and pig out by buying enough fatty foods to last me the rest of the day, and sometimes beyond. However, with no work to be had, I found out from a rugby teammate of mine that the Santa Monica Shelter provided food to underprivileged families on thanksgiving, and that I could volunteer to work there.
So on Thanksgiving I showed up at 6 am to volunteer, and there was a huge line of people. As it turned out, this was one of the only places that you could volunteer and work without having to sign up. Because of that, there were probably 60-80 high school kids there to get service credit for some school class. This place was also allowing service to count towards community service for the penal system. This attracted 60 or so parolees as well, who were talking about past crimes, where they served time, etc…
|My "Shift" Of Volunteers Standing Around Our Handy Work Waiting For The Doors To Be Opened For The Families|
There were so many volunteers, that they would only allow us to work in two hour shifts, then ask us to leave and walk around the building and stand in line by the side entrance to volunteer for another shift two hours later. I stayed for two shifts (6 hours) and then decided it was so crazy that I would just head home and watch football. It was fun to see some of the families come in, sit down, and then have us bring the food to their tables restaurant style. However, it quickly became evident that there were more volunteers than there were people needing/wanting to be served. Because of this, the organizers asked us to sit down and eat once our shift was over, as they had excess food.
But I had already planned to do the fast food thing like I had done in previous years, so I was ready to splurge. But to my shock, Wendy’s and Taco Bell were both closed. Thank heaven for Jack in the Box, as they were open. It didn’t surprise me at all that there was a lot of people inside, as well as long lines in the drive through. I ordered multiple burgers and a large shake. The burgers would be able to last me for lunch, dinner, and potentially breakfast J (don’t judge, as a single male, I am allowed to eat fast food for breakfast).
As I had not eaten anything all day, the food only lasted me up until just before I went to sleep, causing me to grab some pizza for lunch the next day. But all in all, it was a very memorable Thanksgiving.