When I was a sophomore at Roseville High School, I was specially asked to be in the National Honor Society, however, even if you were chosen you still had to fill out a long application and essay to be accepted in. After 2 weeks of long and hard work to finish the application, I turned it in and hoped I got accepted. The teacher held a meeting for us not long after telling us if we were accepted, I was happily told I was accepted. But sadly, most of my friends weren’t chosen to be in it, or they were just too lazy to fill out the application, besides the few that made it in with me.
In NHS we had to do 24 service hours a trimester, most people made them up, so they wouldn’t get kicked out of the extra-curricular. Even though most did not want to do the actual service hours, I wanted to complete mine, so I decided to sign up to work at a soup kitchen with a few others from NHS as well, most people rejected this because they thought it was dirty and didn’t want to sit there handing out soup for hours. Once the day came, my friend Ashley, whom I’ve been the best of friends with since 6th grade, and I drove to Gleaners Community Food Bank in her car. It was about a 20-minute drive to the drive there wasn’t terrible. Once we got there, they assigned each one of us to a position, they luckily put Ashley and I charge of handling the out food, including mostly canned goods, to each person when they came into the line. It was heart-wrenching to see the number of people that came into Gleaners to get food because they were homeless or had very little money to survive off of. This really put everything into perspective, I have been so ungrateful for the things I had when these people had nothing or to the most barley anything, I at least had a home to go to every night with a fridge and cupboards full of food whereas some of them had nothing. During the time Ashley and I were handing out the cans a lady probably no older than her mid-30s comes up to us, and we had a long conversation. She told me a story I could never forget; she told me that her husband had passed away a few years back and things have been really hard for her. She had 3 children and after she scrapped money together to pay bills (sometimes she didn’t even have enough); she had no money left over for food, so she came to Gleaners to get food that her family could survive off of. This story hit me hard, I could not believe this had happened to her, and the number of things this woman has lived through, and she was still here to support her kids. After 3 hours of helping out at Gleaners, I made some new friends with some workers and customers including this sweet woman I met named Danielle, who volunteered at least once a month because she said, ‘It’s important to give back to our community and those who need a little extra help’. I learned that not everyone is here because of their poor life choices but because someone dealt them the wrong hand in their life.
In the end, it was a very eye-opening experience, and I was grateful to experience helping others in this environment hands-on. The next day I went to school and told my friends about my experience and tried to convince them to come with me the next time I went. Some people would turn me down say it was gross or too dirty of an environment, some even just didn’t feel like ‘wasting their time’ but for me, I was very grateful for the experience and decided to go back a few other times with some of my friends that agreed to come. When we went back to the Gleaners together, they agreed that it was an amazing experience, and it felt great to give back.
After those days at Gleaner’s I learned that it felt amazing to give back to your community and help others in need, I learned not to take things for granted anymore and be nicer to those who give me everything and support me. I’m glad I didn’t just lie about my service hours unlike some others because they thought it was disgusting, or a waste of time. It’s never a waste of time to help someone that really needs it because you never know what could happen and if it was god forbid the other way around, you would want someone to help you out too.