Wednesday, April 02, 2008

NPO Day 3

3/24, 10:30-1PM
What I did today was life-altering and AWESOME. Lisa had me going to a delivery site on W 86th St called, St. Paul and St. Andrew's Church. There, the food was dropped off in tubs and picked up by a GLWD volunteer (he's been volunteering for 10 years!) in order to deliver the food to the UWS contingency. This population resided mostly in public housing.

My job was not only to take notes and deliver the meals with the volunteer (named Kevin), but also do a "food test," which entailed me referring to HACCP guidelines, sticking a thermometer in the hot meals, and recording temperatures. I tested the food twice, once in the beginning of the delivery and once at the end in order to discern varations in temperature throughout the delivery process. The first test was in the stairwell and the temperatures were the following: Entree (vegetables, pasta and chicken): 103F and Soup: 119F. The dessert and bagels were room temperature. According to Kevin, "The meals are usually pretty hot." The meals are put into two bags: one smaller brown bag and one larger brown bag with handles so it is easy to carry. Kevin says it take one hour more or less to deliver to five people. Yesterday, he had seven people to deliver to. We began at 11:30 and we ended at 12:48. I tested the test meal again at 12:55 and the temperatures read as the following: Entree: 80FSoup: 97F. According to food safety guidelines, these temperatures are too low.

From start to finish, this was an eye-opening experience for me and I am very grateful for it. The public housing apartments were dicey: elevators and bells seldom worked, the smells were potent and made me feel sad that people had to live in this manner. Not every apartment was like this -- but the majority of the public housing buildings were. An 80-year-old lived right next to an apt that was BLASTING music so loudly that I was even offended. And it wasn't jazz or classical... if you get what I mean.

I had never seen anything like it before, only passed by them. It was certainly an experience I will not forget.

Kevin is a great delivery man. He has been doing this for the past 10 years and I could tell that he really cares about this organization, and the people he delivers to. He says he typically waits as long as it takes until someone opens the outside door when the outside bell isn't working. We luckily had someone come within 10 minutes to one building, whose bell has been broken for as long as Kevin can remember.

In thinking about the surveys I did the week prior, I realized that even PHONE connections doesn't take down the wall between understanding where these people live and come from. That I went INTO public housing didn't even't expose me to the magnitude of poverty these individuals experience. In the back (or I should say front) of my mind, I knew that once I left each building, I'd still have my own to come home to...

No comments:

Nutrition Website

My personal blog here at Blogger is still going to remain intact; however, please visit my new website,, which will host more nutrition topics (because obviously you just can't get enough!)