Youth Forward Scholarship Summer 2018 – My experience with Northwest Food Harvest

Name: Anish Rijal
From: Kent, WA
Grade: 11
School: Kentridge High School
Votes: 0

The day started with overcast skies and my parents yelling at me for the
eighth time to wake up from bed. The night before, my parents were
frustrated that I was not doing any type of community service during
my high school experience. I then got irritated and groaned, “Fine!
I will find something.” Then I found the website for Northwest Food
Harvest after pondering the internet for volunteer opportunities. I
saw that they were only two hour shifts as well and I just decided to
take that. To be honest, I was not the most involved person in my
community prior to this, so when I got off of my bed, I thought that
I was going to do slave work or something there where no one talks to

I then dragged myself there to the building and had a look inside,
everyone looked fun-loving and kind. Staff and employees did some
type of cheesy jingle but it actually made me laugh, authentically.
Everyone there just seemed like a family, and I actually really
enjoyed it.

As I was talking to the new environment surrounding me, announcements started to come out
as the staff told us how to package food for the food bank. We then
filed in lines to wash our hands and then walked into a huge
laboratory room. For that day, I was in apple duty as we had to scan
apples to see if there are any infections, then putting them all in a
bin and then transporting that bin to another group once the bin was
full. The task itself was okay, but I kept myself entertained by
interacting with other people. This experience actually helped me to
meet new people and make new friends. Personally, I thought that the
activity was also fun after I got the hang of checking apples. Me and
my new friends played a game where we see who puts the most clean
apples in the bin in the shortest time possible. Honestly, the time
also flew by really quick, as I originally wished for but now regret,
and we filed out of the laboratory.

After that, the staff applauded us for doing such quality work and made us all feel
proud. But then, the thing that really struck me was when they hung
up a sign saying, “You have fed 1,324 families that are
malnourished, congratulations!” That really hit me deep, knowing
that I helped so many families in need. This place sure is fun, but
if I never saw that sign, I don’t think I would’ve come back.

This experience made me an avid volunteer today. I have also greatly
changed as a person since that time. For instance, when I go to a
restaurant like McDonalds, I buy food for the next homeless guy I
see. Before, I never cared about the homeless, but now I can’t stop
feeling bad for their conditions. Northwest Harvest shaped who I am,
and I can’t thank them enough.

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