It was a warm, sunny November morning at downtown Raleigh’s Oak City Outreach Center, and my fellow student council members and I were serving hot chocolate to the homeless. As I was filling up Styrofoam cups with steaming cocoa and handing them to men and women smiling their thanks, I overheard a man preaching to the crowd growing around him. As he preached about love, faith, and hope; the crowd responded with “amen”s and “hallelujah”s. When another man approached the microphone and began singing gospel music, people began to sing along, including volunteers from a local church.
As I listened to all of the people gathered, many of them strangers, come together to sing songs of joy and hope, I was filled with a sense of fellowship and fraternity. I thought to myself, This is why we do it. The months of vigorous planning, the ceaseless requesting of money from friends and family, this is what it’s all for. The people at the OCOC have next to nothing, yet their resilience and their faith shine through. This is why we work as hard as we can to raise all this money for the Raleigh Wake Partnership, to give these people who are filled with such hope what they deserve.
When that check totaled $150,000 is held up triumphantly the night of December 9, I’ll think back to that warm November morning that was so full of optimism and inspiration.