Authored by Colleen Nakhooda ’24
My classmates and I had an amazing experience at our first service trip of the school year — volunteering at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.
Our service started by watching a video made by the Food Bank. This video gave me an entirely new perspective on the power of hunger and how much it can affect one person, let alone an entire family. By the end of the video, I had tears in my eyes and hoped that the volunteer work we would do that day would make a huge difference. This hit me very hard, because I have a family who is able to provide me with all of the things that I need, and it was hard to think about a girl my age and her family being hungry all the time.
One part of the video really captured my attention — seeing a long line of a diverse group of people in need. One woman with two kids explained just how big of an impact the Food Bank had on their lives, without the food supplied, her family would be hungry. After seeing the video, my entire class was motivated to help as many people as we could.
As we all walked into the ginormous warehouse we were astounded by just how much food there was. We couldn’t begin to imagine how much manpower was needed to get all of the food organized and distributed. Once in our assembly lines, we quickly got to work. My group bagged lunches for children in need. In less than two hours, my group packed 2,500 bagged lunches and the kitchen group sorted 6,050 pounds of food!
The eighth-graders at HB are extremely competitive and at first I thought maybe this attribute would negatively affect our volunteer work, but instead, it motivated us to pack as many lunches as we possibly could. We all got the hang of the assembly line immediately. We got to work assigning different jobs and were packing carts of bagged lunches by the minute.
My classmate Lauren Searby worked in the kitchen, where they sorted hundreds of pounds of food to be distributed. She said this experience impacted her because “it showed how much of an impact I can make on people by just taking an hour out of my day to help others.” I think everyone felt this way as well, and Lauren captured our feelings perfectly.
When we got back on the bus to head home and many of us continued to talk about how happy we were to have had such success, and it was brought up several times how empowering it felt to know that girls our age could get one of our lunches, or a family with little kids would get a great amount of food.
Without the help of our Director for the Center of Civic Engagement Ms. Stephanie Hiedemann and Matt Jackson, the volunteer coordinator at the Food Bank, this impact would not have been possible. The eighth-grade class hopes to go back to the Food Bank because the organization helps so many people in need and gave us an amazing opportunity to be a part of their mission.
Hathaway Brown’s Early Childhood, Primary and Middle School students collected the Super Six — peanut butter, tuna, canned soup, beef stew, cereal, and canned fruits and veggies — to donate to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank which serves communities in Cuyahoga and five other Northeast Ohio counties.