By Ms. Karrol-Lee Richards
In all my years being at Washington Adventist University (WAU), I have made it my priority to participate in each Service Day. Spring semester of 2013, I decided to not participate in Service Day which made me feel as though there was someone out there who was depending on me and I failed to help them. So, Wednesday, October 2, 2013, I made sure I was up and ready to do my part in Service Day although I tirelessly slept through my alarm. As a final year student at WAU, I made it my duty to participate in the “Takoma Park Emergency Food Pantry” activity along with a group of roughly 20-30 students.
Before arriving at the site, I had a mindset that told me, all there was to do at this site was pack a few bags and that would complete my day of service. Little did I know or think that there was more to the up keep of this program. Once the bus arrived at the site, we all exited the bus excited and ready to lend a hand to people in need. The director of the program came and greeted the group and told us what he needed assistance with. We were told he needed four groups, one group was to do data entry, the other group was needed for distributing flyers around Langley Park to inform people about the program, the next group was needed for making phone calls, and the last group was needed for packing bags.
I participated along with 15 other students packing bags. The majority of the bags that were packed contained a can of meat, a bag of pasta, a can of vegetables, a can of tomato sauce, and a can of fruit. After a while, people began to feel a certain way about the type of food that was being prepared for distribution. My response was, “be grateful for what you have. The people who receive this food are more than grateful for the meal they are receiving.”
Once I made that comment, I thought to myself, “Why do I complain about the food that is handed to me in the cafeteria on campus?” It was then I realized I learn a valuable lesson each time I participate in Service Day. This past Service Day I learnt to be thankful for what I have and for what I do not have. The director was grateful and elated for the work we completed. We packed over 500 bags, leaving absolutely no room to store them. My wish is that we have more than one Service Day a semester because it takes more than a day to help those in need.