Earlier in the semester, we were given the opportunity to sign up to volunteer with the Simon Community. I was thrilled to be given this opportunity to give back some for the short amount of time I’ve been here. I have been volunteering with an ongoing project called Soup Run Team. In Ireland, homelessness can be common. Soup Run Team walks around Dublin providing soup, sandwiches, and offers a good chat to those who are homeless. It is estimated that up to 5,000 individuals are homeless at any one time in Ireland. That’s a pretty startling number. One fact about the Soup Run Team I’m pretty impressed with is that it has volunteers going out on routes 24/7, 365 days a year – including all of the holidays. That’s pretty awesome if you ask me! It shows how dedicated they are to their service and wanting to help others. I am more than happy to put forth some of my time here to help those in need and who are suffering. I went into my first night hoping to gain a better perspective on what life would be like if that were me and appreciate what I have and not take it for granted.
My first Tuesday night, I was teamed up with two veteran volunteers on Route 1 (I believe there were about five different set routes to tackle the city). One of those volunteers has been volunteering for over twelve years! I applaud him and his dedication to this great organization. With canteens of tea and soup and our bag of goodies, us three set out on our route. It was nice to have a route with roads that I’m familiar with. We drove around a bit to search for people in their sleeping bags on the streets, but at some point we had to park and tackle the weather. The weather was absolutely unbelievable last night – I’m talking 40mph wind gusts and constant rain. Needless to say, my boots didn’t prove to be as waterproof as I thought they were. The same volunteer who’s been with Soup Run for years told me that it was the worst weather he’s ever been out on with Soup Run. What a night I picked for my first, huh? We kept trucking along and would go up to anyone we saw sitting on the streets, trying to shield themselves from the rain and wind as best as they could, to offer up some supplies for them. Some accepted and some declined. The first individual that we came along was so very grateful to us and thanked us for the food and poncho to help keep clean. It makes you put everything in perspective and not to take anything for granted and appreciate what’s been given to you in this life. I don’t know how they can survive on the streets like that – and especially on a night like that. It made me forever grateful for the hot shower and dry clothes I had waiting for me back in my apartment.
The Simon Community is such a great organization and would highly recommend people to get involved with what they do. They have a serious, positive impact on the homeless around Dublin.