By Saki Sakaihara

Today, we went to Saint James Food Pantry to help the organization distribute food for homeless people and people don’t have enough money to buy food.

In the morning, most of the people who came to the pantry were Chinese. They were not able to speak English well, but some members of us tried to communicate with them using simple words and slowing down speaking English. I was impressed to have seen this happen even though I didn’t have an opportunity to be involved with people as much. I’m from Japan and I can’t speak English fluently, so I understand how scary it is that people live in a different country from where they have grown up. That’s why I think our team did great a job today.

In the afternoon, we gave food and water to homeless people. To be honest, I was scared to communicate with homeless people. When I saw homeless people on the street, I always tried to ignore them, because I thought they would make an attack on me for food and money. However, I was wrong.
They were not dangerous. They appreciated our service and often said “Thank you.” Then, I found that I had prejudiced about homeless people.
During the service, a woman spoke to me and we had a conversation for a couple minutes. It was fun. Before she left there, she asked me to hug her. I was surprised but glad, and I hugged her. Through this one moment, something changed in my mind. If I didn’t join this program, that change would not happen in my life.

When we reflected today’s service, I talked about this story and I couldn’t stop crying. I was afraid of saying my feelings to everyone, but other members felt same things, too. It made me happy.

I will never forget what happened today.
I want to be an English teacher in the future. So, I will tell it to my future students in Japan someday.

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