Tuesday, March 15, 2011
We hit the ground running the first day. We grabbed breakfast and headed off to help out at West Side Campaign Against Hunger. This is one of the largest food pantries in New York, feeding over 110,000 families a year. On Tuesdays they are closed to organize the deliveries that are coming in. We helped shelve hundreds of cans and joined lines to pass along sacks of flour, rice and beans. There was a third delivery from Goya, a company that makes Hispanic products. The company had also brought a bunch of volunteers to help unload the food. They weren't really doing a whole lot, but had a photographer for PR purposes, which was a little bothersome, that they weren't there to volunteer, but just seemed to flaunt the fact that they were volunteering.
We finished earlier than expected, around 11:00 and set out exploring. We ate street food, stopped in some shops, went by the Empire State Building, went to Times Square, and got ice cream. We had to get to St. Paul's Chapel to start our Faith Walk around the World Trade Centers. It was interesting to learn some more history of the tragedy, and was good to be reminded about the many lives that were lost on 9/11. The walk finished at Park 51 where we had a great discussion with the organizers of Park 51, who debunked the myths of their planned center. We were also there during their prayer time which was very interesting to observe. Afterwards, we (the Christians) asked lots of questions, which was a really interesting chance to learn more about Islam. It was a fun day and nice to get to know each other better.