Portraits of Atlanta / by Morgan Lieberman

Just a few days ago, I returned from a weeklong trip to Atlanta, Georgia, where I was able to work with various homeless shelters and food banks to serve individuals affected by homelessness and poverty. In between organizing thousands of clothing items in the closet of the shelter, putting together hygiene kits for the clients, and placing pounds upon pounds of food into boxes to be distributed to local partner agencies, I was able to meet some unforgettable people every day. Some were kids, some were adults, and some were in between, like me, trying to figure out the path of their life. I formed connections with once unfamiliar faces and throughout the week, learned about their dark times, their loved ones, and their dreams for the future. We formed bonds through dialogue that sometimes was meaningful and also sometimes without a purpose, a sort of connection that makes a friendship grow stronger with every vocal exchange. I think about these individuals now with great hope and admiration, knowing that these unfamiliar faces are all very much familiar to me now, proving that all it takes is a few days to truly bring happiness into someone's life. That is what they did for me.