GCD – COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

As I am in GIN Chiku service group, I go to the Chiku center at least once in 2 months. At Chiku I went to the meeting both in the morning and afternoon, and learned how important Chiku service is for the homeless people. I learned this by talking to the people who were always there for Chiku food service, and asked them why the amount of food needed differs. They answered that the homeless people have to live with an unstable earning as they can not find a stable job. This may mean that they might have to live with no earning for weeks, therefore, to live they would need to save money and eat. When the homeless people have an earning they would go eat something different, however, they would run out of money before the next salary but would need something to eat therefore need the food from the Chiku group.

In the morning, I saw people from the Chiku center predicting the amount of food the homeless people would need based on the salary system while I was helping the Chiku people cook the food for the homeless people, and in the afternoon I was giving the food out to the homeless people and looking at the amount of people that needed the food. I was surprised as some homeless people brought their own pots so that they could get more food. Some days, the food would run out and on other days, we had just enough. As I saw how desperate the people were to get food, it made me think of how much we waste food in the canteen. I felt that I wanted to do something with the amount of food we waste to help the homeless people.

This experience made me think about when I went to New York for a month during the summer as there were a lot of homeless people there. The homeless people were begging for money laying in the streets, however, the homeless people at Kotobukicho do not beg for money. This made me curious of the difference between how people see the homeless people in NewYork and Japan.

The meaningful action I took is that I spoke up during the meeting saying that we should donate more food as there are not enough. After discussion, we decided to conduct more donation events and also we went to the elementary students and shared the reality of the homeless people, asking them to bring in some food to donate to the Chiku center. Although this may have been a small act, speaking out my thoughts have influenced the Chiku group and the elementary school to start donate food.

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