Working Together

Edward - Hinsdale, Illinois
Entered on October 28, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in teamwork. I believe with teamwork, anything can be accomplished. I volunteer at a Chicago food bank once a month, helping package various foods. The first time I went to the Greater Food Depository was because I needed participation points for a high-school club. When I arrived, all I thought about was writing down the hours of contribution. After I was shown my task—picking out rotten fruit—I was appalled. This job is for garbage men, not a student like me! I had woken up at 6:30, was placed in a forty degree refrigerator, and told to pick out rotten fruit. This was not how the food bank described their volunteering projects in their pamphlets.

As the time steadily progressed, and my frown steadily got larger, I slowly started to notice the cooperation and teamwork shown among other volunteers. It seemed as if I was the only one unhappy of helping out. To my left, there were people joking and talking about their lives. To my right, there were people competing amongst each other, seeing who could sort out produce the fastest. In the middle, there was just me, I was alone.

I looked down at the pile of rotting cucumbers and onions—trying not to pay attention to the smell. I looked around, observing the dimly lit refrigerator I was confined in. I was able to ignore the smell, the cold, and my tiredness. I just couldn’t ignore the happy smiles and everyone’s sense of belonging. It was like a family reunion for these people. They didn’t come here for volunteer hours; they came to help feed the hungry. I came to help myself. I was then able to realize my own selfishness, and the others’ selflessness. When we finished our job, everyone started cheering, hugging, and high-fiving—it was as if we had won a glorious battle. 1000 pounds of produce was like nothing.

Now, when I look back to this experience, I have realized my inadequate lifestyle. I wanted only myself to succeed, never considering what would happen to my peers. I relied on my parents only for their shelter and food. Today, I work hard to re-knit the quilt of friendship and teamwork.

I believe working together with others is how humanity was able to come this far. Henry Ford had the help of his wife to invent the car. Thomas Edison had his group of faithful lab assistants to conceive the idea of a light-bulb. The Wright Brothers had each other to design the first airplane. Working together to achieve a common goal—big or small, is civilizations biggest accomplishment. This, I believe.