Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Helping the Hungry

Name: Lauren Bassford
From: Sevierville, TN
Grade: High School Senior
School: Sevier County High School
Votes: 0

Every Monday afternoon I serve meals to people in need. My church, First
Baptist Church Sevierville, partners with Smoky Mountain Area Rescue
Ministries in a program called Hot Meals for Hungry Hearts. Those who
are homeless or are not doing well financially can come each Monday
between 5:00 and 5:30 to receive a free hot meal in a comfortable
dining area.

I have come to realize that I have a passion for helping others. I have
been blessed with so much, so I feel that it is my privilege to pass
blessings on to others. When I first heard of Hot Meals for Hungry
Hearts in tenth grade, I knew it would be an amazing opportunity to
bring happiness to others. Since then, I have been committed to
serving meals every Monday.

When I first began volunteering at Hot Meals for Hungry Hearts, I was shy
and would avoid interactions with the diners whenever possible. I
would stay in the kitchen with the food instead of serving the
guests. However, as time progressed, I started actively interacting
with the diners. I lost much of my timidity, so now I am no longer
afraid to serve and to hold conversations with our guests. Hot Meals
for Hungry Hearts has also dispelled my fear of taking the lead to
complete tasks. Because I have now been volunteering at Hot Meals for
Hungry Hearts for two years, I have become an unofficial leader in
the program. I arrive each Monday at four o’clock to set up the
dining room and to assist the two adults in charge of preparing the
food. When other students volunteer at Hot Meals for Hungry Hearts,
they look to me to find out what needs to be done to help make the
program run smoothly.

Throughout my time serving at Hot Meals for Hungry Hearts, I have witnessed
lives being changed through simple acts of kindness. It is touching
to see someone’s face light up with a smile when a hot plate of
food is placed in front of them. I have learned that I take so much
for granted, such as having plenty of food to eat and a house to live
in, while there are so many people who live without knowing where
their next meal will come from or where they will spend the night. My
experience at Hot Meals for Hungry Hearts has opened my eyes to the
needs of those around me, and it has taught me that I can help
fulfill those needs. These past few years have caused me to grow in
my passion for helping others, and as a result, I now know that I
need to continue pursuing this passion throughout my education and my
career to continue making a difference in the lives of those in my

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