All my fellow students! Here I am again. Back in action!
Being an international student is not just about studying and studying and…. studying. Well, in my case I did community service. And it was fun… Unleash the volunteer in you my fellow students!
We went to Northern Illinois Food Bank for my first community service. Activities that volunteers engaged in were organizing and packing foods, and checking for their expiration dates. That day, we were tasked to dispose unsafe medicines that were sent to the Food Bank. These medicines could not be used because the drug company did not have them licensed under the FDA.
SPECIFIC JOB: Remove the tablets from its blister packaging. (Too bad I did not bring a camera!)
TIME: It took us four hours to finish one big box.
What about the experience?
Removing the tablets was a monotonous job but it was fun because we get to chat with each other without being less efficient. My fingers were painful after, but it was nothing compared to what will happen if a person dies because of those tablets. I felt a somewhat warm and fuzzy feeling since I know that I helped prevent a bad outcome from happening. This experience taught me that no matter how small or big your ways are in helping, it makes no difference since the purpose is the same. Service is about sacrifice, and it does not hurt to sacrifice your time and effort to help a good cause.
The second time that I volunteered at the Food Bank– the activities were completely different. It was way more exciting and challenging. Together with ten other people and two fellow UGRADers, filling bags with nutritious, child-friendly and shelf-stable food that are distributed to students on Fridays has never been so fun. Called as the BackPack Program—it is a national program of the Feeding America Network.
SPECIFIC JOB: Each of us was assigned to different stations.I was assigned to put small packs of rice in each bag. Others were assigned to put canned goods, cereals, trail mixes etc.
TIME: The group accomplished the job in three hours and forty-five minutes. Thirteen heads are better than one!
What about the experience?
We were all motivated to accomplish the task at hand because we know that more than a thousand chronically hungry children will received those bags. One of the volunteers even said that one bag is good for three people to have three meals in a day, so it was really worth it.
In a NUTSHELL!
The experience gave me a deeper meaning of the spirit of volunteerism. In the Philippines, I am a volunteer of an organization that promotes a more just and peaceful world through intercultural programs. Here in the US, the community service experience showed me a different facet of volunteering.By volunteering—you can do so many things to help others. Upon my return to my home country, I will definitely do more volunteer works that concern other causes.
Lindo Lindo– say it twice!