In mid-November, I completed part of my Academic Service Learning hours at Kehilat Sephardim Food Pantry. I’m sure many of you are aware of this establishment since it is so close to campus (maybe some of you have also done your ASL requirements here). I was a little surprised by what I saw. It was a quiet, homey-looking establishment, certainly nothing like the food pantries I’ve worked at before. The interior was almost like a house, with a kitchen, but where the living room would be, there was a small little synagogue of sorts.
After filling out the necessary paperwork, we were led out to a small garage in front of the building and were instructed to pack vegetables into bags. “If someone comes by asking for food”, the manager noted, “You have to refuse, because we only distribute the bags on Sundays”. I simply shrugged it off. I didn’t think anyone in the area would be that desperate for food (yes, a silly thought on my part.) But sure enough, an elderly woman with a thick accent rattled the garage door a bit, asking for three potatoes. My roommate, who was completing her ASL hours with me, was the one to speak up and tell her that we could not fulfill her request. The woman cried quietly in desperation, which certainly didn’t make me feel any less guilty. Sometimes we forget that there are people in need, when we live somewhat sheltered on our campus. The few hours I put in at this food pantry certainly reminded me of that truth.
(This was on all of the boxes)