By Rachael Davis, NFTY Southern Area Social Action Vice President
Toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors, snacks, and water. These are some of the things the homeless community of DC did not have, but we would soon help them to obtain. That morning, 25 SALTeens assembled over 50 bags with hygiene essentials for the homeless. SALT (The Social Action Leadership Trip) is a NFTY North American event which allows teens who represent their NFTY region, through Social Action, to travel to DC and work with the RAC to further their leadership and advocacy skills.
With bags in hand, teens walked around DuPont Circle and gave their bags to any homeless person they saw. Rather than asking, “Do you need this?”, the teens approached with a different question: “Do you know of anyone who needs this?” We posed this question because that morning we learned from the national coalition from the homeless that we should always treat the homeless as human beings and with a sense of dignity, just like we would treat anyone else.
After handing out all of our bags, the teens got to explore DuPont Circle. In the middle of the park, there was something that amazed us all. There was a colorful display for the victims of the Orlando shooting. The fact that there was a memorial in the middle of the park, which is largely populated by the homeless, proved to the teens that despite our circumstances, we stand united in the face of hatred. It was a beautiful day of learning and of action for the SALTeens on our trip.