School Supply Clearances?? Your Chance to Give!

So I went into my local Target the other day to browse around and saw a big display of paper notebooks and folders on clearance! All of the items were 70% off, ranging from $0.15-$1.50, depending on which brand and how many pages or subjects the notebook has.  When seeing the display, it reminded me of the sleep train radio commercials about donating school supplies to foster kids.  Usually organizations ask for donations of school supplies in July and August, but they accept donations year round.  So I  decided to buy $2 worth of the $0.15 notebooks to donate, which is 13 notebooks.

image

If volunteering for a cause isn’t an option, there is always donating items that are in need. For just $2, you’re supplying 13 students with notebooks! With all these school supplies on clearance, we should take advantage to help our community of young children.  I have heard that at other Targets, they have other school supplies, such as pencils or binders on clearance as well.

If you’re looking for a place to donate, I went on the Sleep Train website to see if they were still taking donations and it looks like they’re only taking monetary donations, but call your local Sleep Train to double check! Another local organization I found is Family Giving Tree. They have a somewhat Santa’s workshop type system, where they receive wishlist from low-income children in need of school supplies and they fulfill their wishlist, which is pretty cool and I’m hoping that they contact me so I can volunteer!

Anyway, my point is, help donate!  If you don’t donate because of the high cost of items, then look into sale or clearance items! Anything helps! Providing these children with generosity will give them a sense of gratefulness for other people’s  help and in turn will teach them to be generous and helpful to others and we’ll be giving the world a new generation of helpful humans.  It may seem little, but every little action has a cause and effect and helping out will give a positive outcome.

A Simple Cup of Milk

I wanted to share something that really impacted me.  I had previously posted about my first experience volunteering at Loaves & Fishes Family Kitchen in my area.  My first day was very fulfilling, but something happened that I can’t stop thinking about.  I was one of the volunteers pouring beverages for our diners. We had juice, milk, coffee, and water.  Before my volunteer day, the volunteer coordinator sent me a confirmation email and also said if possible for any of us to bring milk because they were in need of it.  I really didn’t think much of it.

Well, when I was walking around pouring juice, a father with his son had asked me if there was anymore milk left because his son would like some.  I told him I would go check.  I looked around for the other volunteers helping me with beverages, but all of them had pitchers of juice or coffee, so I went in the kitchen to check. The team leader who was in charge told me that we were out and it was only 20 minutes into dinner service.  I went back to the father and told him we were out and his son was really disappointed and it broke my heart!  This child chose milk over juice, you know something that’s healthy and I couldn’t give it to him.

There are so many items, like milk, that we take for granted.  I keep thinking that if I had brought in some milk, there would have been enough.  It’s just the little things like this that we could do to make things better.  I know I’m dedicating my time to volunteering, but there are simple things I, as well as everybody else, can do, such as donating $2 milk so a child won’t go thirsty.  Next week, when I go into volunteer, I’m going to make sure to bring in milk.

Loaves & Fishes Family Kitchen

I decided to volunteer.  So what now???  Well I searched online for volunteer opportunities.  I knew that I wanted to start small because it has been a long time since I’ve volunteered.  I think the last time was when I was in high school and that was about 7 years ago.  Geez, I feel old now!  Anywho, I was thinking about volunteering at a soup kitchen and I came across Loaves & Fishes Family Kitchen.  Here’s a little bit about them that they’ve posted on their website:

“Loaves & Fishes Family Kitchen, a non-profit organization has been serving the working poor, families, homeless and seniors living in and around the downtown and East Side of San Jose for over 31 years. What began as a simple first meal of fish and bread for 11 adults and 15 children has grown to nearly 500 meals per day, served with dignity. These no-cost hot meals are offered to our clients in a safe, caring, and friendly environment.”

What really appealed to me about this organization was 1. It serves those in need in my community, 2. It’s a somewhat small organization and I feel like those are the ones that are in more need of help and awareness to the public, 3. They serve dinner from Monday-Friday, so it could easily be something I can do on a regular basis and 4. It helps feed those who can’t afford to feed themselves.  I emailed the volunteer director and received a response in 2 days and was set to volunteer the following week.

On arriving to the location, I was very nervous.  I’m naturally a shy person, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from the other volunteers, but I was glad that there were other new volunteers.  There were about 14 of us and half the volunteers there were in high school, either volunteering for requirements or having finished their volunteer hours and wanting to continue volunteering.  There were multiple jobs to be done before the dinner service, such as wiping down tables and chairs, setting up the utensils and cups, cutting various vegetables, and filling up pitchers of beverages.  I believe that the volunteer cooks come in earlier to prepare the food.  Tonight’s menu was spaghetti, salad, gumbo, bread, fruit and a cookie with drinks of water, coffee, milk, and juice.  When we were all done, we waited until dinner service started.  They had let people come in 20 minutes early to allow them to find a place to sit.  They also had a table with loaves of bread and various bakery items that they were able to take home with them; I’m guessing it was a first come first serve type thing.  What really surprised me though was how many people that came for dinner.  And it was all types of people; kids, adults, seniors, people with disabilities, Hispanic, Asian, Caucasian.  People from all walks of life.  It just shows that anybody can have tough times in their life.

When dinner was served, I had the task of walking around with a pitcher of juice and pouring it to those who wanted some.  I know my task seems so small, but it made me feel good that I was able to help people.  Just the look of joy and thankfulness that they had helped reassure me that I was doing a good thing.  What was disheartening though was that we ran out of the drinks that we were serving and we weren’t able to serve seconds of the food.  We then started cleaning up and doing dishes.  A few of the people that we served helped and thanked us for what we were doing.  Overall, first day of volunteering was great and I’m glad I chose Loaves & Fishes Family Kitchen.  It gave me the passion to continue and find other organizations and causes to lend my assistance.  Their website is here  If you don’t live in my area, don’t worry.  There are many different Loaves & Fishes organizations in different areas and states that have the same mission of feeding their communities.

My Volunteer Journey

I turned 24  a couple of weeks ago and in turning 24 I looked back on my life and I wasn’t satisfied with it.  When I was younger, I wanted to help the world.  I used to be so passionate about the world’s problems.  I wanted to save the polar bears and pandas from becoming extinct.  I wanted to end global warming and implement recycling everywhere. Most of all, I wanted to help people.  I wanted to help those who couldn’t help themselves or those who simply needed some compassion and empathy.   I wanted to leave this world with a little bit of positivity.  Nowadays, all you see in this world is hate,  anger, and negativity.  I really needed to see the good that this world has to offer and the good that I can do.  Which is why I decided to start volunteering.  I’ll be chronicling my journey here, hoping that maybe it will encourage others to volunteer as well because as cliche as it sounds, it will make the world a better place.  You’ll also be surprised at how it will make you feel.