Every Tuesday, Ruth and Stacey, host Slice of Life at their blog, Two Writing Teachers. If you want to participate, you can link up at their Slice of Life Story Post on Tuesdays or you can just head on over there to check out other people's stories. For more information on what a Slice of Life post is about, you can go here.
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At this very moment, I am at a Choice Literacy writing retreat with Ruth! How exciting is that!? I need to snap a picture so I can share it next week when I reflect on the awesomeness that is this experience...but that's not until next week. This week, I'm talking about a different awesome experience that I had last week when I volunteered at Feed My Starving Children.
Feed My Starving Children is an organization that provides food to malnourished children. Volunteers hand-pack specifically formulated meals that they then ship to nearly 70 countries around the world. My older son, my husband and I met one of Peanut's friend's from preschool (they go waaaay back, all the way to preschool...two years ago...) and their preschool teacher. The entire experience was completely organized and efficient and we packed enough meals to fill 14 boxes that were scheduled to ship to Nicaragua.
Whenever I volunteer, I hope that I'm making a difference in someone else's life. I know that it nourishes my spirit to go and work with others and to try to make a difference but I sincerely hope that it does make in impact for the people I'm hoping to help.
This trip was extra special because it was the first time Peanut has gone to volunteer to help others. They do a fantastic job of introducing the work and the need for this work and the impact it makes before and after the packing. Peanut followed through the motions, helping scoop veggies into the food packs and putting labels on the bags. Afterwards, we watched a video that showed food being delivered to people and how they shared with each other, eating out of whatever they could find. Then, they showed a picture of an eight-year-old boy who was so malnourished that he weighed less than 25 pounds. I leaned over and told Peanut that that little boy was older than he was but he didn't have enough food. I watched his face as he made that connection. The screen changed and they showed the boy after receiving meals from Feed My Starving Children and he looked completely transformed. He looked vibrant and healthy and much like Peanut; they could have been cousins. Peanut's face changed again and he said, "That boy was older than me?" I like to think that he got it, at least, he got it to the extent that a six-year-old can get it. He is only six. While I understand that there is still a whole wide world for him to figure out, this is a little start in helping him recognize how we can make the world a better place. What I hope that he got out of the experience was a realization that there are people in the world who live a life vastly different from our own, that we need to be thankful for the things we have but also that we can support others, impact change, and hopefully make a difference.
When I volunteer, I feel a sense of hope in the difference we can make. This time, I felt a totally different kind of hope. It was a feeling that by taking Peanut with us and opening his eyes at such a young age that there is hope that he'll grow up to be a caring and compassionate person who is generous and kind to others. It just fills me with hope (and maybe some tears) thinking how the world could be a better place if we fill it with little six-year-olds ready and willing to make a difference. Isn't that a great kind of hope?
Have you ever volunteered for Feed My Starving Children or volunteered with students before? Do you do other activities to help students serve the local community or even a larger organization? I would love to hear your stories!