Giving Forward

Zoe - Western Springs, Illinois
Entered on February 22, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

A Saturday afternoon, I stand on the side of a newly sanitized metal table covered in a sea of plastic silverware. People are lined up along the sides racing to fill one plastic bag with exactly five sporks, no more or no less, otherwise everything would be thrown into utter chaos, no joke. Then we would put those bags into cardboard boxes, and once a cardboard box was filled with one-hundred plastic bags, containing five sporks per bag, it was taped shut and we were off working on the next cardboard box to load. Our man-made assembly line worked hard for at least three hours packaging silverware. And, it turned out that all that plastic we packaged, ended up providing over 27,000 families with silverware so they could eat their meals. This was my first experience helping out at the Greater Chicago Food Depository. That day, just fifty people worked for an afternoon and helped almost 30,000 families. When I heard that my youth group had helped feed that many people, I realized how important and valuable it is to help other people. In such a short amount of time, something so great was achieved. Volunteering to help other people doesn’t always have to involve joining Habitat for Humanity, or being apart of Doctors without Borders. Something as little as donating clothes to the Salvation Army, or giving some of your time to your community, can change people’s lives, or even yours. I think that one of the biggest rewards I got from that one day I spent at the Greater Chicago Food Depository was how appreciative the people were of what we did for them. And when I walked out of that building knowing I did something to help another person, I felt like I had just solved world hunger. And although packaging plastic silverware is not as spectacular as solving world hunger, I knew that I had put my Saturday afternoon to good use. Rather than spending the day lying around and contemplating if I should work on my English essay or if I should wait until Sunday night, I went out and did something constructive and meaningful. And the greatest part was that I did it not just for me, but for somebody else! The way I look at volunteering has completely transformed because of that amazing time. This event had a large impact on me and the way I will spend my Saturday afternoons. Something as simple as plastic silverware helped me realize my strong belief in giving forward.