I’m not the president of a cooperation, not the captain of the soccer team, and not rich or famous. I didn’t invent anything original, save a bunch of lives, or even get straight A’s in school. I’m fifteen years old, sixteen in June, and I have been privileged to live in a very fortunate town. There is little to no crime, and the worst part of anyone’s day here is when the Internet is down, or if his or her friend is busy and cant come over.
It was about a year ago when my cousin needed help at a food drive. I had other things going that day. I had a dog show, and my friend Reva was sleeping over later that night. I had things to do. I was busy. But he pestered me so much I eventually gave in.
When I got there I saw seven other people bagging canned foods in a warehouse with no doors and a vast opening. It was relatively chilly, and the cold air bit my nose. I wanted to go back home. I had homework, anyway.
“More people!” a man shouted out. He took off his gloves, introduced himself, and shook our hands. His blue coat sat snug on his shoulders. He gestured over to the piles of canned goods “we have so much to do! And we are so happy you came.” I quick smiled. The faster we got this done the faster I could get back home.
We quickly started bagging the goods. There were two men in overcoats, one man in a pair of overalls, one even in a suit. There were two women, who looked like sisters, and a nine-year-old girl standing by her mother. There was something different about this environment, so far from a computer, a television, or your best friends. Everyone, regardless of race, culture, of social status (although there were a mere seven) were talking and laughing, although they wanted to be here. They sang Christmas tunes as they packed away canned peaches, pears, and plums, and although the day was cold, and I didn’t want to be there, I started singing too.
By the end of the day we had twenty-seven boxes full of food ready to be sent off to the homeless and the hungry. We all sat on the stoop outside the warehouse to wait for the truck to pick up the food. There were exchanges of “great day.” And “nice job.” I was still quiet. My cousin gave a high five to the man next to him.
“Where do you live, darling?” the old man looked at me. His beard seemed to be close to falling out if his chin. His eyes were sunken with age, but he seemed nice enough, so I responded.
“Deluxebury!” he laughed, and cupped my shoulder.
I sighed a little bit- I’ve heard that before. Silence settled uncomfortably over us for a moment.
“Where do you live?” Not like I was interested. I just needed something to break the silence.
“Roxbury.” He responded.
“Oh.” Roxbury had high crime rate, and many were alcoholics and druggies.
“Its nice to have a privileged kid helping out.” he said
“It makes me think they really care.”
It was that day I realized how one person could change the world. And even though I am famous, or extremely wealthy, I am an able bodied citizen and I can make a difference. I believe one person, no matter how old, young, sick, or healthy, can do something to change the world.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.