Youth Forward Scholarship 2018 – Family, Food Rescue, and the Food-Bank

Name: Hannah Strickland
From: Suffolk, VA
Grade: College Senior
School: Liberty University
Votes: 0

Family,
Food Rescue, and the Food-Bank

When
Demetrius looked over at Ms. Cayti, and saw that she was talking to
a local “crazy man,” he rapidly walked over to her and put a
protective arm around her shoulder. After she ended the
conversation, Demetrius gently rebuked Ms. Cayti saying, “You
shouldn’t talk to people like that, Ms. Cayti. You need to be
safe.”

When
I was 11, my Mom (Ms. Cayti, from the previous story), decided to
have us volunteer as Food Rescue Workers with the Foodbank of
Southeastern Virginia. Our job is to go to a local store, collect
the food they would otherwise discard then bring it to the food-bank
for distribution. Since I was home-schooled and earned my Bachelor’s
degree online, I spend every Thursday morning and the occasional
Saturday volunteering (3-5 hours per week). Serving other people as
a Food Rescue Worker is the most rewarding and eye-opening
experience.

Technically,
I was the one helping other people, but I learned much more from the
other workers at the food-bank. These men and women are other
volunteers who attend the Church through which serves as the place
where we distribute food. Before I worked at the food-bank, I had a
minimal amount of exposure to the problem of needless hunger in the
world, or to people of a different culture than mine. Initially, the
most significant challenge I faced was the gap between cultures.
Nevertheless, because of their accepting and loving attitude, I also
gained the greatest satisfaction from learning to love and accept
these wonderful people as part of my family, despite any cultural
differences. While we worked together to end hunger and feed the
needy, I learned many different lessons. I learned about
street-safety from men and women who protected me in the “bad area”
of town. They taught me how to salvage discarded food and use it
when it seemed completely unusable. When I got a “boyfriend,”
they all wanted to meet him so they could see if he was “good
enough.” They adopted me into their family and protected me,
taught me, and loved me. By allowing me into their family, the
people at the food-bank taught me more about love, diversity, and
acceptance than any class could have taught me.


Now,
I am 17-years-old, and when I head to graduate school to earn my
Master’s degree, I will be unable to continue working at this
particular food-bank. But, to be “forward looking,” means
finding opportunities to help my community when I enter graduate
school. If I could change the world through my volunteer activity, I
would create a more accepting and diverse culture which celebrates
differences while working we work together to end needless hunger in
the world. My eventual goal is to become the President, and if I do,
I plan to foster an accepting culture with a celebration of diversity
within my political ideals, perspective about the country, and
Cabinet.


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