Robert Thompson’s children participate in programs at the COA Youth & Family Centers. He explains why he chose to photograph The Gathering’s Community Meal Program.
I chose The Gathering breakfast program to take pictures because these are a group of people that really go unnoticed. They are among us on a daily basis and get overlooked. I volunteer here whenever I get a day off of work.
Sometimes I just spend the first thirty minutes or so chit chatting with the guests about their night. I then move on and check in with the Breakfast Coordinator and complete whatever tasks she assigns me. The duties range from cooking, washing dishes, to serving on the line and cleaning spills while the meal is being served.
One of the main jobs for volunteers is simply to talk to guests, to hear their stories and their hopes. For me the serving portion is my favorite. It keeps me humble and allows me to give to people who really want nothing in return but a hot meal and a warm smile.