Eliyan Umamy is an Indonesian student studying public relations at Pierce College in Lakewood, WA. Here she shares the eye-opening experience she had while volunteering at the Tacoma Rescue Mission and reflects on the differences in Indonesia.
Poverty is everywhere. It exists even in the super power, the United States of America. I volunteered at the Tacoma Rescue Mission with other Northwest Community College Initiative students in the middle of January. It was a very wonderful experience to help disadvantaged people, even though I just served dinner for them. I realized that it meant a lot when I heard one of them say, “Thank you guys, I appreciate it!”
What we did was pretty easy. Each person stood for a different meal section and handed them food when they passed through. I could say it was my favorite volunteer activity. I enjoyed being around those people who patiently served others, yet it was the unforgettable moment to see people’s various expressions closely.
Everything at Tacoma Rescue Mission was neat and well-organized. I have seen and participated in a couple of social missions in my home country, but this volunteer activity I joined at Tacoma Rescue Mission gave me new insight.
In Indonesia, at least based on what I have seen and participated in, we don’t serve ready-to-eat meals, but staples. Ready-to-eat meals are available for only certain occasions, like in time of disaster or in the month of fasting, Ramadhan. It is not easy though to serve meals three times a day for a lot of people. What caught my attention was also the meal served – fresh and healthy food. Tacoma Rescue Mission ensured that all the meals were nutritious. However, people could choose what they wanted on their plates. Kids got a glass of healthy milk. How cute! There were so many people standing in the line so we had to make sure that the meals were enough for everybody. That was why when they asked for more, we had to answer politely that everybody would get the same amount.
Tacoma Rescue Mission does a wonderful job of helping the community. It provides services for the homeless, and support for people with addiction and other problems, including hunger. I believe that it is not a work of a single person. It happens because people come together to help the disadvantaged. The donors, workers, and volunteers work together and commit to build a better community.
At the end, I finally got a wonderful story to share later with people in my community. We could have one like this; a place where people come together to help others, in my hometown. Could we?