Thursday, July 24, 2008

News Flash: I'm Prejudice

I apologize ahead of time for the length of this post and the lack of pictures. Today was an interesting day.
Yesterday and this morning I made 30 sack lunches.This afternoon I handed them out along with water bottles to the homeless (or at least homeless-looking, can't always be sure) around my mom's work in downtown San Francisco.
The majority of people were amazing. I've never gotten so many compliments! If you need an ego boost, just give food to homeless men and smile a lot.
They are wonderful people. A lot of them would thank me numerous times, introduce themselves, say "God bless", and such.
I got two "Could I have one for my girlfriend, too?" I was expecting this line at some point. I only gave an additional one to one of the men, because he was in a wheelchair and ridiculously sweet.
Two men actually turned down the lunches and water. A few people asked if I had extra waters. Someone just wanted a water. Someone turned down a water.
Only 3 were women, the rest were men.
There was a married couple in a grassy area.
There were two people in wheelchairs.
I was on the streets for a couple of hours, having to go back to my mom's building to replenish the supplies (can't carry 30 water bottles and lunches at once). It was insane how easily I could find someone to give the food to. Everywhere you look there is someone sitting against a wall in numerous layers of clothing, with long beards, and lots of bags.
At one point I hadn't seen a homeless person for a little bit (very bizarre), I turned the corner and bam! I found more than 30 in just one area. This was probably a mistake, because I ran out at one point and said I would be back. I went back with all that was left (5) and they were gone quick!!
I was down to my last one and about 1 woman (caucasian) and 3 men were around me, waiting. The woman had asked me for one the last time I had been there, but I didn't have any for her at the time, so I gave my last one to her. One of the men, a black man, called me prejudice and turned down the extra water I offered him. And that ended my adventure.
I walked away.. holding back tears. When I got back to my mom's I couldn't hold it back anymore. I was so sad he had accused me of that. I was furious that I was letting it get to me when I knew it wasn't true (hello! the majority of the people I was giving to were african-american men!!). I was curious to how many of the people actually needed this help, which I'm sure was pretty close to everyone. Frustrated, just thinking about how many times I had just been manipulated. Mostly, I was sad that I couldn't help them all out and I had left so many people hanging.
It's frightening how many people there are on the streets. They are all good people and deserve so much more. I went out there thinking more along the lines that people would be greedy, take the food and not say anything to me, but I was super mistaken. We are all children of God, some just made different choices from us or, through no fault of their own, somehow ended up in this deprived way of life. It's incredible to see how much there spirits lift with a simple offer of help.


David said...

Jenna.... You can't let someones words take you down. Only you and Heavenly Father know the true intentions and thoughts of your heart. I fear that the cries of racism, and prejudice are going to become a catch all and all too common phrase when someone doesn't get what they want.

Tara said...

What an amazing experience! Life teaches us in many ways, and many people would not have come away with the same perspective. You are truly blessed and I admire your example and willingness to see the best in people.

Crystal said...

You are so brave! It sounds like personal progress in action. You are so giving, and not predjudice at all so no worries. I'm looking forward to seeing you sometime this week. Don't forget to come to my new house! Tell your mom I say howdy.

DustDust, CiCi, and RyRy said...

Nenna! Miss you! Hope you are having fun!

Lemme said...

OKAY...these kinds of things get me somewhat heated. I think it's because I make a conscious effort not to be racist and when someone calls me racist I get really mad. So...we were in Venice Beach here in LA and there was a guy selling his CDs and I was with my friend Amber and I told her to just walk and ignore him (kind of like Vegas) and she did. So the guy was like, "You damn white people! You're all racist! GO OBAMA!!!" We were shocked!! Just because I don't want to buy your CD doesn't mean I'm racist!! GRR

George E. said...

I just read this for the first time, its only like 6 months after the fact...... Furious, that’s pretty much the way I feel about you being in that situation, guess it is good I wasn't there with you. That hack needs to move to the south if he really wanted to meet some Prejudice people, instead of picking on the girl giving free sandwiches.