"A First Time Snapshot of Feeding The Homeless"
I have had the pleasure of working with Sunny Akhigbe and the "A Boy And His Dream Foundation" for a short while. The foundation focuses on empowering and educating our youth within Chicago as well as overcoming adversity for people of all ages. From the very beginning of our work I have heard the mantra of spreading love and positivity, but got my first chance to really see this mantra personified when Sunny and I recently went to feed the homeless in the city of Chicago. We didn't have an agenda or a set up feeding station, we literally drove around the city looking to provide random acts of kindness to the homeless. We had boxed food and non-perishables ready to hand out to anyone we could find who looked like they were in need of help. During this time and our interactions with the homeless I really saw the essence of the foundation come into play and I "understood" the work that Sunny wants to provide...
The experience I am trying to explain is one of "breaking down barriers" with people, showing vulnerability, and "humanizing" interactions with one another. The first step to being received positively by the homeless, was to make sure that we were "humanizing" as much as possible with them. Most of the time the response solicited was one of confusion but for this event, that was a good response because they were receptive to our acts of kindness. Sure, there were others who were non-receptive. For those who were receptive, the homeless started out the interaction very confused and of course appreciative of the food but at the end, still left confused. "Why did these two men, just seek me out and give me food?" This was a thought, I for sure saw in their faces when we moved on about the city looking for more people to help. It was eye opening to see that the human mind can be trained over time to default to negative as the immediate response or deeming oneself unworthy of gifts or self love. "A Boy And His Dream Foundation" is working diligently and on the grassroots level to reverse that.
First hand I got to experience a sense of empowerment by providing good for the community but also had a takeaway that authenticity and kindness and strength are to be encouraged and trained and worked at over time. We ended the night feeling proud about our good-doings, but this also raised so many thought-provoking questions. This event also made us realize that this work is a continuous cycle. The hope is a chain reaction of positive reinforcement leading to similar events down the line amongst more and more people. It all starts by just doing it. I had so many questions before we started our field trip but at the end of it all of my questions were answered just by the experience alone. For this I am thankful and fortunate.