Alternative Winter Break Paying it Forward

By Sharon Schoenfeld
Jonathan (4th from r) hanging with Wayne and friends

Our day began bright and early at 7:30 and although many of us were late, we still managed to break off into our groups and head to our volunteer sites on time. I chose to join the group which was going to help out at Lantern Light Mission, an organization which was founded by collaborative parties in order to meet the need of the poor and/or homeless. When we arrived we were first brought on a tour of the building. As we walked around, I was astonished by how well thought out and efficient the site was built. For example, they provided everything from good to medical attention. As lunch started and the guests arrived, we were quickly put to work by singing Christmas carols for the guests’ enjoyment. It was such a great experience watching how to us, our task was just symbolic and insignificant, but it meant so much to them.

My favorite part of the visit was interacting with a man named Wayne. Wayne was one of the most joyful and enthusiastic people I have ever met. He has recently gotten back on his feet and now lives in his own home. As the guests received their hot meals, Wayne came up to our group and offered us his lunch, we obviously declined, but Wayne then turned to a woman sitting next to him, who were obviously less fortunate than he, and handed his meal to her. She graciously accepted his gift and went on with her business. Watching this scene truly warmed my heart. It did so because although Wayne might be in better circumstances than this woman, he is still in need of support, yet so willing to give up his only meal of the day. This really urged me to do and give more because I know that Wayne has so much less than me, but still was eager to help others. The day was a huge success and an amazing Christmas.

Jonathan Israel – 10th Grade, Chevy Chase, MD

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