On March 25 a group of Chicago Semester social work students and I volunteered at Fourth Presbyterian Church’s Sunday Night Supper. Every Sunday night of the year since 1980 around 100 people are served a hot meal, are able to take advantage of the services of an on-site nurse, have an opportunity to submit prayer requests and are made aware of other resources available to them in Chicago.
Fourth Presbyterian is one of the 650 sites that receive food from the Greater Chicago Food Depository, which serves 142,400 people each week. Having the experience of directly serving food and drinks, as well as talking and interacting with 100 of these people really brought these statistics to life. It also put a face on the “low income” and “homeless” people seated on the floor during Chicago Semester’s recent Hunger Banquet.
Two of the main values in the social work profession are helping people in need and respecting the inherent dignity and worth of a person. Also, an important tenant of Christianity is helping the poor and feeding the hungry. Finally, a Chicago Semester program value is to encourage responsible citizenship that practices compassion and pursues social justice. Being part of the Sunday Night Supper program allowed us in a small way, a valuable opportunity to live out all of these ideals.