One great privilege that is a part of our internship through OC is that of volunteer work/community service. I chose the word privilege rather than requirement because throughout my first two years of college, I have found that it is quite an honor to be able to give back to a community that has given so much to me. By working in the ER last summer and by working in the clinic this year, I am able to give back to my rural community in Friona, Tx. However, my service project for this year consisted of volunteering at the High Plains Food Bank in Amarillo, Texas.
I chose this project as my way to give back because of the great day of help that it does not only in the Amarillo area but also throughout the Panhandle including its program in Friona. I have volunteered at the food bank before during staff bonding while working for WTAMU but also when going with my friend Ryan because we felt the need to. During those times, I learned that the food bank provides an essential food source to hundreds of families in the region. The food bank offers struggling families the ability to feed their children by delivering food to certain families as well as having a mini-food store in which individuals come in and are handed a $20 gift card to shop at the food bank store. Prices for food are greatly discounted, such as a box of cereal normally priced at $3.50 is usually $1.00 at most, and people are able to get quite a bit to feed themselves.
There are a few different sections at the High Plains Food Bank to choose from when volunteering. The one that I most frequently do is being the individual who inspects the donated food products for quality, damage, expiration dates, and separating them into sub-classes in order for proper packaging for distribution. Various stores such as Walmart donate many food products into hug bins which are transported to the food bank. Upon arrival, employees of the food bank transport the bins onto the floor in which volunteers sort the food out. If cans have dents, insects are presents, expiration dates have been fulfilled, or the products are damaged; we throw the food away. The rest, gets put into smaller bins in which other volunteers go and cart to be packaged.
I didn’t actually find anything too challenging about the volunteer service other than I wished I had brought more people to help out and that I wished people actually knew how much this means to others. There was a Valero group volunteering, a few students, and a couple parolees doing community service. Most were unaware of how much people truly need this service. Had I not had a group present the effects of this service on the community during a class, I would not have been able to fully appreciate what I was a part of during those hours. Knowing how much a couple hours of work can go a long way in so many lives was the best part of this experience! Being able to help a father and/or mother feed their children is such an honor and privilege to have. I hope to be able to continue doing this in the future and am glad I chose to do this again. It has impacted me over in over in creating a foundation of being a giver.