Simply serving lunch became an eye-opener for a group of Calgarians yesterday afternoon.

Six members of the Urban Exposure Project volunteered at the Drop In Centre as part of the United Way’s poverty-awareness campaign. The group served lunch to more than 500 guests before touring the facilities.

Fiona Lui, a member of last year’s project, organized the volunteer event after being inspired by the people working at the Drop In Centre during a previous visit.

“After my tour last year, I was able to relate to the people that come here,” said Lui. “There is a lot of positivity here.”

Current UEP group member Lesley Hansen was surprised by the number of people the Drop In Centre serves during the day. “The fact that they are able to facilitate the need for people to have a place to go is great,” she said.

Beyond serving meals to clients, the Drop In Centre offers a variety of services, including art and music programs.

“A lot of the people here are so talented,” said UEP group member Jenn Mayuga. “But they are in unfortunate situations, and their talent can’t shine.”

The UEP is part of the United Way’s 2335 initiative to engage 23- to 35-year-olds in discussions of social issues. The project has members using photography to capture poverty visually in order to initiate conversations.