This I Believe

Katherine - Norwood, Massachusetts
Entered on December 4, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I Believe

It is important to give back to the community. Just this past Thanksgiving my father and son and I packed dinners for people that couldn’t afford to buy their own or were unable to go out to the store and get them. My father did things like this all the time when I was growing up, and for as long as I can remember he brought me with him. He always wore a red hat with white snowflakes everytime. I think he still has the hat in a closet somewhere.

As a young child, I loved going. It felt good just to be helping out, even though at the time I didn’t really understand the nature of what we were doing. At eight years old I was simply unable to comprehend the fact that there were families who couldn’t afford a Thanksgiving dinner. I just enjoyed spending time with my parents and feeling like part of a team. In my turbulent teen years it was always a battle to force me to go, but as I matured and reached adulthood, I learned to appreciate it on a new, deeper level. It actually made me feel good. Every time I left after volunteering, I felt better than I did going in. I left with a sense of accomplishment. I made a difference.

I believe in volunteering. I believe in charity in general, but since I’ve never been able to afford to contribute to charities financially, I donated what I could: time. Not that it hasn’t been difficult to find time! As a single working mother, and a student to boot, free time is not something that I am well acquainted with. I think people sometime get caught up in their own lives they forget how easy it is to give an hour to help another person out. It may not be every day or even week or month, but I make sure that I do volunteer work several times a year.

I continue to go with my father every Thanksgiving to pack the dinners for those who can’t afford them. It’s something that we’ve always been able to share, and something that I pray we will be able to share in the future. I’m grateful to him for introducing me to the joy of volunteer work, and I look forward to sharing this gift with my son as well.

This was the first Thanksgiving that I brought my son with my father and me for our Thanksgiving tradition. I see in him the same joy I felt at his age. Just feeling good to be helping out the grown-ups, and feeling like part of a team. If I’m a model to go by, I dread his teenage years, but I will make him come with me still. I hope that as he matures he will find the joy and the greater meaning that I have discovered through volunteering.