"We rise by lifting others"
My team mate Rahel had arranged Chicken Biriani, which I collected from All Seasons in Mile end.
This was my first soup kitchen where my own kids joined me. Two of my boys helped me collect the food, set up the table, put up the banner, serve and take pics. I was very pleased with their presence and this served many purposes.
Firstly, it got them out of the house, away from their damned consoles.
Secondly, they proved they had the ability to carry out tasks independently.
Thirdly, the interaction with vulnerable and needy fellow humans was educational and uplifting. You can't ever buy such a life experience.
Fourthly, they met a real celebrity. We were fortunate to be joined by Mizanur Chaudhury, Tower Hamlets youngest ever Mayor and the borough's first official speaker. His presence alone was another lesson for the kids. They were inspired that an individual of such standing had the time and the inclination to roll up his sleeves and help serve homeless guests. Mizan lives around the corner, and just like myself, he knew most of the vulnerable people we served at the soup kitchen.
And that brings me to my conclusion. Volunteering isn't just about benefitting others. The benefits one gains personally are far greater.
If you'd like to help me at Westfield, Stratford or Booth House, Whitechapel then Tweet me - @emdad07