Salvation Army Experience

Friday was quite the day…which is why I’m writing about it on Sunday. I’ve had a busy weekend. xD

So, I don’t want anyone to freak out about me. I know what I’m doing… 🙂 But on Thursday, I was up pretty late studying for my Communications test Friday morning. When I was done, and had a good understanding on everything, I took a shower, set 2 alarms and went to bed. I usually wake up at 7:00AM for my classes, so I set my regular 7:00AM clock alarm, but I don’t have class until 9:00AM and could really wake up at 8:00AM and be just fine. I just like to have some extra time. But since it was late, I figured I’d want an extra hour of sleep and set my phone alarm for 8:00AM.

The next morning, my 7:00AM alarm went off, and as I had suspected, I wanted an extra hour of sleep. I went back to sleep, relying on my phone alarm to wake me up. I hadn’t suspected that my phone’s battery was going to die in the middle of the night, thus shutting it off, leaving me sleeping without an alarm…I woke up naturally at 8:47AM, checked the time, and immediately jumped out of bed, put on glasses, changed clothes, grabbed my stuff, and ran downstairs. I grabbed my broken bike because there was no way I’d make it to class on time without it. I sped down the hill leading up to Tower, through the alley behind the police station, past Paws & Go, down the hill by the Quad, and parked at the ASB Building, like I usually do. I didn’t go to The Den for breakfast though, and I didn’t wait for the elevator to take me to the top of the hill. I just ran and hiked…up 6 stories…and came into class huffing and puffing at 8:59AM. Shwew!

I sat down, and had planned on studying a little more before the test started, so I pulled out my materials, but the clock turned to 9:00AM and our professor told us to put everything away as he started handing out Scantrons. Thanks to my night of studying, though, I had a good understanding of everything. We were allowed to leave as soon as we had finished our 50-question multiple-choice test, but I finished at 8:45AM, so I only got out 5 minutes early. I had a good feeling about the test. I only didn’t know 3 of the questions, and was pretty much certain about all of the other 47. I left with a smile and then went to The Den to eat a cinnamon roll with some chocolate milk.

I rode my bike back to Tower and changed back into pajamas and went back to sleep. I woke up around 1:00PM or 2:00PM when Laura did, and my dad called me shortly afterwards. I got a text from my PA, Noel, reminding me about the Friday Salvation Army trip. I had been planning on going all week, but I wasn’t entirely sure if I was going to go because I was still pretty groggy…I got up, changed clothes again, and headed to Jones for some lunch. I got broccoli and rice, like I have been a lot, lately. I ate in the Terry Lobby and finished around 3:20PM when Noel came by. Turns out that I was the only Terry that was volunteering at the Salvation Army this week, besides Noel and an Older Terry, Shelby. We waited for Shelby, and she drove us up to Austin around 4:00PM.

The Salvation Army kind of looked like it was in a run-down section of Austin. It was kind of a shock to me to see people just sitting around all over the place, against walls, on curbs, on porches…There were just people everywhere. Shelby warned me that I had the right to refuse to give people money or food if I didn’t want to. That kind of scared me a bit.

We walked into the building and Noel greeted a person at the desk and led us into the kitchen, automatically pulling a binder out of a drawer and filling out an attendance sheet as if he had done it several times. We washed our hands, put our hair up under hairnets, and grabbed some gloves before getting to work. A man named Carl appeared to be in charge and told us we were going to serve today. He led us to a school-cafeteria-looking setting, only this time I was on the other side of the food. xD

We ended up serving for 2 different meals. It was quite an experience.

When the doors were opened and people starting coming in, I was a little surprised. The people were surprising at first. Some did honestly look homeless and helpless, but a majority of them did not. Many were overweight, and mostly everyone was wearing “normal” clothes like I was. A lot of people had on jewelry, such as earrings, rings, fancy watches, etc. I don’t want to sound like a jerk, because I really don’t feel that way…I’m just saying that I was kind of surprised. But, I don’t know their lives or their stories, so I’m not going to judge.

Another thing that was surprising was the attitudes that we were met with. Some people were very kind and thankful. I felt special when these people asked how our days were going and personally thanked us for the food. There were very limited choices, but they thanked us for what we were offering and said they wouldn’t be picky. The majority was not like that, though. Most people were very picky and wanted special orders. They didn’t want some foods and wanted others, they wanted more or less of what we were giving, they weren’t satisfied with today’s menu. We were serving chicken, mashed potatoes, cooked carrots, and rice for the first meal, but it was kind of “First Come First Serve,” and Carl didn’t even bring out the white and dirty rice until near the end of the meal. So many people asked me for a chicken leg when we didn’t have any and were quite upset when I told them that, and a lot of people wanted more than the one piece that I was allowed to give them. One person’s piece of chicken was really small, and when he asked for another piece, I gave him another really small piece just because there really wasn’t much there. That really threw things off… -sigh- It was kind of frustrating and stressful. I wanted to be fair to everyone and give them what they want, but then Noel and Carl were giving me rules and it wasn’t entirely organized.

After the first meal, we wiped tables and prepared for the next meal. Carl said that this group was the Family Group. We wouldn’t prepare standard dishes beforehand because this group was going to get personalized orders. Each person would come up and tell us how many adults and children they had, and then we’d make the plates. For the adults, it was chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy, and green beans. For the kids, it was meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy, and green beans. It sounded really easy. It wasn’t.

There were chicken strips in the chicken pile. That was a problem…When people came up and saw the chicken strips, that’s what the kids wanted, rather than the meatloaf….But Carl said that was fine, so we gave them to the kids, anyways. I was in charge of the meatloaf, but not many people wanted the meatloaf. Some of the adults actually wanted the meatloaf, but we just gave it to them if they wanted it. And there were issues that came up with gravy or no gravy. xD It really wasn’t that bad, though. All of the people in the Family Group were pretty nice and grateful. It made me feel kind of melancholy, though, to see all the kids and to know that I have a good situation and my life is different from theirs. It really made me see things through a different perspective.

After the Family Group, there actually was another run-through of people that came. This time, Carl told me not to serve meatloaf and just serve the chicken. But this time, everyone wanted meatloaf and was wondering why there were people at the tables with meatloaf and they couldn’t have any. This group was just adults, and we told them that was why: The meatloaf was for the kids…But then they complained that they saw adults eating the meatloaf, too…We just apologized and handed them all we had to offer: chicken.

After an hour and a half and after everyone had left, we cleaned up, threw away our gloves, hairnets, and aprons, and left. After an hour trip back to San Marcos, we stopped at Chicken Express. I wasn’t too hungry, though, so I just got a biscuit.

We came back to Tower and Noel and Shelby had a meeting with some of the other Terry Council Members, so I went back to my room. The door was open, but Laura wasn’t there, which kind of confused me. By now, I had a bad headache and my eyes were starting to burn, so although I had planned on doing homework to free up my weekend, I lied down with the lights off for a little while. Not too long later, Laura came in and turned on the lights. She said that she had left the door open because she saw me in the lobby with Noel and Shelby and she had just went to Wal-Mart with Ellen for a bit. Ellen and Jenny came in and they started talking with Laura for a bit, so I just got up and started working on my homework. I told them that my eyes were burning, so Ellen offered eye drops, and Laura offered that I take my contacts out. They invited me to watch movies in Ellen’s room, but I was set on getting my homework done.

Throughout the rest of the night, I wrote a Philosophy paper, completed 2 Math quizzes (and got 100% on both of them,) and e-mailed a professor (for a University Seminar assignment.) I went to Jones for a break because I was starting to feel weak and shaky, plus my eyes were still burning and my headache had come back. I paid extra for mandurin chicken and fried rice and found a lonely booth on the “Cool-Side” of Jones. We all like that side because it’s got TVs that you can text to that will play music videos. I tried it for the first time that night and enjoyed Secrets by One Republic. 🙂 After eating, (although I still had a lot left over,) I just sat and relaxed there in my booth, but a guy started cleaning the tables and sweeping and had even blocked off the section that I was sitting in, so I picked up my stuff and left. I took a shower when I got home and took more medicine before going to sleep.

Oh, but I checked my e-mail the next morning, and my Communications professor had sent an e-mail saying that I got a 96% on my test, highest in my class. 🙂 I was right. I got 3 wrong, but he threw a question out since everyone got it wrong or something, so I only got 4 points off for 2 questions missed. I’m so good at knowing my skills. xD