This I Believe

Adali - Santa Maria, California
Entered on July 3, 2007

A Thanksgiving Gift

It was fall; the anticipated Thanksgiving break had arrived. When I was in the third grade my teacher, Mrs. Miller, participated in a canned food drive. I saw the joy of other students as they brought numerous kinds of food. Sitting in the back corner I felt unsatisfied; I made myself a commitment to participate in the delightful activity.

When I arrived home, I went straight to the kitchen. Unfortunately, my mother had not gone grocery shopping. When my mother came home from work, I ran to her and cried, “Ama, no tenemos comida.” With sadness in her eyes she said, “Todavia no voy a la tienda porque no tengo tiempo, ademas no tenemos dinero.” We didn’t have much; all we had was a few cans of corn and peas. I asked my mother if I could have the last cans, she paused but knew how much it meant to me. I remember she said “You see, it does not matter if it’s not a lot and that they’re only peas and corn, but someone will eventually need them.” The next day I went to school with a bag of cans, I can still remember, that there awaited Mrs. Miller’s soft and sweet hug. That night, a blue Jeep pulled up my street. It was Mrs. Miller’s car; she was standing in front of my porch with a box of food cans and everything for the holidays. My mother thanked her and I hugged her and waved goodbye.

I remember back now how it meant so much for my family to have given so little and received so much. The food I gave may have come back, but I realized that it does make a difference in someone’s life when we all gather to contribute, no matter the amount. The gift I received that wonderful night was not the box of food, but Mrs. Miller’s smile, my mother’s gratitude, and the everlasting gift of giving. In high school, I joined clubs and organizations, such as American Red Cross, Key Club International and United Way, which participate in community service and raise money to help others economically. Someday I wish to play a bigger role, and travel to Africa to help the hungry of all ages. I would like to see their smiles and share an everlasting gift I learned to keep with me forever. But for now, every time when I finish the day at my community service job, with a big grin I think to myself, “Yes. I truly do believe in the power of giving.”