Youth Forward Scholarship 2017 – Feeding the Less Fortunate

Name: Samantha Birkl
From: Farmingdale, NY
Grade: 11
School: Farmingdale High School
Votes: 0

Every
year, we would wake up earlier than our parents and run downstairs to
sort out each coveted box. My little brother, always having the
biggest pile, couldn’t wait to tear open each wrapped mystery. He
would run upstairs to our parent’s bedroom and jump on their bed
and plead with them to wake up. When they finally did, everything
would fall into place. The video camera rolled while we tore through
the red and green wrapping paper. Next, came the big breakfast:
pancakes, bagels, eggs and, of course, you can’t forget the bacon.
Finally came the Christmas Day Parade televised from Disney World.
Singing, dancing, and laughing along with the characters, we felt as
if we were actually transported onto Main Street USA.

December
25
th,
2010 was just like all of the Christmases before, except something
was different. I couldn’t quite figure it out at first. What was it
about this Christmas that made me feel different, made me feel like
something was amiss? Then it hit me! I found myself thinking more and
more about recent news stories, detailing families living on the
streets, living off of donations, often only bread and water. What
about them? Was their morning just as magical? I thought about all
the gifts I had received in all of the previous years and felt
disappointed in myself as I realized that many of the gifts I had
received I hardly ever used. I didn’t really
need
any of them. What about those who don’t get a Christmas like mine?
How is that fair?

I
wanted everyone’s Christmas morning to be marvelous in some way.
After doing some research, my mother and I found that my town has a
Soup Kitchen, that feeds the homeless and less fortunate. We made
some phone calls and started to volunteer.
We
started offering our support one Sunday a month for 4 hours. I never
realized how many people in my own town were struggling. When we
first got there, no one had arrived; people usually didn’t come until
one o’clock because we needed time to prepare everything. The
volunteers were very kind, and assisted me in setting up. The room
finally filled with people. I was relieved that they were all very
welcoming and grateful. One table in particular, stood out to me. Two
older gentlemen, and an older woman, sat around the table patiently
waiting for their food. They were so polite, always saying please and
thank you, asking how my day was and telling me how big my heart is.

That
was a little less than six years ago and we have gone from
volunteering once a month to getting the word out on radio stations,
writing articles for local newspapers and writing letters that we
present to the local restaurants for meal donations. My mother is now
a Leader, one Sunday a month, and she and I are in charge of
coordinating all of the Sunday volunteers. We need to schedule cooks
and servers that will prepare and serve meals to 40-50 less fortunate
individuals. We have come to know a little about each of the
individuals that we serve and look forward to seeing them on a week
to week basis.

One
meal, every Sunday, is their Christmas morning. Seeing their faces
light up, being surrounded by smiling, caring people is like
unwrapping a present every week. Knowing I am making a difference to
these people is better than any Christmas morning.

THIS
IS A SUGGESTION OF WHAT YOU MIGHT INCLUDE IN “ADDITIONAL
INFORMATION”


I
WOULD LIKE TO SHARE SOME THOUGHS ON ONE OF MY PARTICULARLY MEANINFUL
INVOLVMENTS:

My
mother and I started by volunteering one Sunday a month for 4 hours.
I never realized how many people in my own town were struggling. When
we first got there, no one had arrived yet, people usually didn’t
come until one o’clock because we needed time to prepare everything.
The volunteers were very kind, and assisted me in setting up. The
room finally filled with people. I was relieved that they were all
very welcoming and grateful. One table in particular, stood out to
me. Two older gentlemen, and an older woman, sat around the table
patiently waiting for their food. They were so polite, always saying
please and thank you, asking how my day was and telling me how big my
heart is.

That
was a little less than six years ago and we have gone from
volunteering once a month to getting the word out on radio stations,
writing articles for local newspapers and writing letters that we
present to the local restaurants for meal donations. My mother
is now a Leader, one Sunday a month, and she and I are in charge of
coordinating all of the Sunday volunteers. We need to schedule cooks
and servers that will prepare and serve meals to 40-50 less fortunate
individuals. We have come to know a little about each of the
individuals that we serve and look forward to seeing them on a week
to week basis.


Join our Facebook group "Volunteers for a Better World".