Every single Friday night, I take around 15 individuals down to Lower Wacker Drive in downtown Chicago, Illinois. Lower Wacker Drive is a street that runs under Chicago's Michigan Avenue, also known as the "Magnificent Mile." While Michigan Avenue beautiful sight to see, it's heartbreaking to walk down one flight of stairs and witness a whole different world. On Lower Wacker, there are multiple loading docks and heating vents from all the skyscrapers on the popular street above. It is for this reason that a large population of Chicago's homeless comes to live here, especially in the winter, when the wind rips through every building upstairs. Lower Wacker is in some sense a refuge from the weather that plagues these people. When we get down to Lower Wacker, we pull out food that our school Cafeteria makes especially for them, set up on one of the loading docks, and try our best to make conversations and eventually friendships with these homeless men and women. We stay for around 2 hours, and then pack up, say our goodbyes, and go home.
A common misconception about the homeless is their constant search for food. In the city, it is relatively easy for a homeless man to find a meal. Food is not the reason we go down to Wacker. We go down to talk. To try to let these people know that somewhere there are people who care for them and want to hear their stories. Tears have been shed and laughs have been heard on both sides of the United States social spectrum. A white, upper middle class college student giving a hug to a homeless man who has been on the streets for over 10 years is a sight to see. We foster a community which not only feeds the homeless, but interacts and loves them as well.