Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2017 – Changed My Life and the World

Name: Smiti Mangla
From: Renton, WA
Grade: 9th
School: Lindbergh High School
Votes: 0

Changed
My Life and the World

About
one in nine people or 795 million people in the world don’t get
sufficient food for a healthy life, according to the Food Aid
Foundation. For me, a privileged child living in affluent suburbs, I
often forgot how much some have to struggle just to survive. Until
the day my friend revealed that she hadn’t eaten a good meal in 3
days. I cried, and then from that moment, I felt obligated to help
those who couldn’t help themselves.

I
have volunteered for much of my life, starting at a young age simply
because I quickly fell in love with the satisfaction of helping
someone. As I’ve grown older, I’ve also started looking for more
organizations to volunteer in, as opposed to the little things I
would do as a kid. When my mother told me about Northwest Harvest, an
organization that packs food to send to food banks all over
Washington, I knew it was right for me. After all, how fitting for
someone who was inspired to action by seeing a friend’s hunger?


Since
starting in August, I’ve volunteered every Wednesday from 5-7 PM. For
the actual volunteering, about 20 volunteers package whatever
foodstuff it is that week. My responsibilities in that large task are
to take the bags, tape them shut, pack a certain number into a box
and put that box on the conveyor belt to the weighing station. When
occasionally packaging fruits, I just have to pack as many of them as
possible in a box. However, therein lies my biggest challenge: I
don’t try different jobs. I want to branch out to other
responsibilities like putting the food into the bags or weighing the
boxes to leave my comfort zone.

Nothing
outdoes the satisfaction of volunteer work for me. Especially since
Northwest Harvest writes the numbers on the board after our shift to
tell us how many meals we made. I can actually visualize the
difference we’ve collectively made in so many lives. I can also
finally assuage those fears about not leaving an impact in this world
because this work has taught me that you can make a real difference
in the smallest ways. It’s truly as simple as smiling at someone
passing by or providing a meal to just one person at the right time.

Volunteering
at Northwest Harvest has actually changed my life in another way
because it has made me realize my love for philanthropic work. Thus,
I want to become a cancer researcher and save lives, just like
helping people get sufficient food saves lives.

Because
of the singularly large impact on my life, I seek to promote more
organizations like Northwest Harvest in the world. You have to start
at the smallest level, just like Northwest Harvest only services
Washington. If there are more similar organizations in function, then
slowly each part of the world can take a step of progress towards the
“forward-looking” goal of ending world hunger.


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