Today for part of our course on poverty and health at school, I visited a "soup kitchen" called Project Share.
Project Share serves hot meals to the 87106 community. The project also distributes food boxes to families in need, provides free clothing and books to people, and offers people help in finding work.
I know very little about social problems, so it was very interesting to go and serve food to people. As an initial impression, some people seemed to be in very dire straits, and some people seemed like people simply down on their luck or caught in a tight economy. Some people seemed like they could be okay, and it was unclear why they were there. People have all kinds of needs. Some people who came to Project Share may even have been filling a social need, I'm not sure.
So far in medical school I've gotten more exposure to poverty than I did working say, in Los Alamos. I enjoyed volunteering at Project Share, except for the cleaning part, after we served people food. It wasn't hard, but seeing and smelling the bucket of water and chlorine, cold with wet rags inside, brought back unpleasant school cafeterias for me.
I have heard it said that there are not starving people in the US the way there are in other countries, and I am sure that is more or less true, but there are definitely hungry people here. I wonder how everyone came to fall through our social network and ended up homeless, jobless, and hungry.