Name: Dalilah Hernandez
From: Jurupa Valley, California
School: Patriot High School
Joining AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), a class that
prepares students for applying to and attending a four-year
university, was the one of the best choices I have made. Through this
class in seventh grade I was introduced to our community’s holiday
food drive. This was when I first started volunteering at the JUSD
Holiday Food Drive, and I have volunteered every year since. It gives
to underprivileged families.
During the month of November I spend about five hours a week working to
promote people to give to the drive and collect non perishables and
clothes. In the month of December I do the same, spend about fives
hours a week collecting food and clothes, except for the last week of
the drive where I spend about fifteen hours.
As a volunteer we collect donated canned foods, non perishables, and
clothes from schools, neighborhoods and our community throughout the
month of November and December. On the Friday before Christmas the
volunteers gathered all the food, clothes, toys, stockings, and small
household items at a community school, usually in the gymnasium of
Jurupa Middle School. We separate all the food onto labeled tables.
Then we go around making bags of food and meals. After that we
separate all the toys and clothes, putting the clothes on the tables
based on gender and size. Then, we make stockings for the little
children. We fill them with a little bit of candy and a few small
toys. The next day underprivileged families line up at the front of
the school and wait for their turn. We partner up and guide families
through the school, first stopping by to get a or bag or two of food,
based on their family size, then to the cafeteria where the families
“shop” for clothes and items they may need, and based on how many
children they have they also receive one or two big toys for the
child or family, letting them take whatever they need for free.
In the beginning as a volunteer it was a challenge for me to interact
with other people because I used to be a very shy and quiet person,
but going through this experience and volunteering more and more has
helped me be more active and confident and I have made many great
friends through this experience.
As a volunteer it is most satisfying being able to help these families
and make them happy. When the little children are given their
stockings and toy it bring such joy to the both of us, to put a smile
on their faces is the greatest feeling.
I learned that every family is different, some may need help more than
others and if we can contribute any little time we have to helping
them we can make a big difference. This is something I’ve enjoyed
and have been grateful to be able to help with, and it is something I
will continue to do in the many years ahead.