The Andre House

A couple of days ago my sister and I had the chance to give a little back to the community.  We decided that we wanted to volunteer at a soup kitchen.  There is a place downtown Phoenix called the Andre House.  At first I was thinking that we could just walk in and ask to be put to work.  Nope!  There are actually quite a few who volunteer there.  So much so that we had to schedule a time frame of when we could come by.  After a couple emails back and forth with the volunteer coordinator we got our slot.

3:15 PM.  We arrive at the Andre House.  So what was on the menu that evening?  Goulash, Salad, Bread with Butter, Pudding and Water.  All of which was prepared by us volunteers!  Slicing and dicing veggies.  Slicing whole loaves of bread and buttering each piece.  There was a lot to do to get everything ready before those doors opened!  We met some really great people while we were there too.  Julie and Greg, who are married, regularly volunteer at the Andre House.  We had a good time with those two!  They kind of briefed us on what to expect for the evening and helped us in deciding what positions we wanted to fill!

Alexes helping with the broccoli

My sister was able to get a place on the actual serving line.  She was serving the pudding and was told that everyone would love her because she was giving the dessert!  Haha!  I asked if there was a position where I could do a lot of interacting with people.  This may or may not have been a mistake as they assigned me to do tray slamming.  With a very straight face I accepted.  Just in case you are wondering what the tray slammer does, it’s all in the title.  I get handed a tray.  I slam the excess food in the trash.  I hand the tray to a tray washer.  Not quite the interaction I was looking for but hey I was there to help!

Part of the dining room at the Andre House

5:30 PM.  Now it’s time to open the doors.  What I’m assuming is a tradition at the Andre House, several of us yelled, “3-2-1 OPEN THAT GATE!!”  There were loads of people waiting to get in!  Of course as the tray slammer my job wouldn’t start for a few minutes until people finished their meal.  I was able to see that there were some people there who may have been in their situation for quite some time.  There were also some who looked like this was a very new thing for them.  For the most part everyone was happy to have a meal.  And I was really happy to be there!

The soupline at the Andre House

Then BOOM!  Tray after tray after tray.  I’m slamming and handing them off as fast as I could!  It was not at all fast enough.  But eventually 6:30 came and the doors closed.  Whew!!  By the end of the night, after slamming 500-600 trays, my arms were toast!

After we left, my sister and I grabbed some food and headed back to my place.  Before sitting down to eat I looked down at my food and realized that what I was about to have was VERY different than what I helped prepare and serve just a couple of hours prior.  I looked around at the space we were in.  Couches, bathrooms, beds, TVs, Air Conditioning.  I have always appreciated what I had.  But this night was a bit different.  All in all I felt positive about the day.  And extremely thankful for what and who I have in my life.

Anyhow if you have ever thought about doing this sort of thing and just haven’t, you absolutely should!  You won’t be sorry!

Have you ever done anything like this?  How did it go?  Would you ever do anything like this?  Why or why not?  Feel free to comment!