A Short Drive, a Long Impact

December 9, 2011
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“Where can I find more food for the kids?” the elderly woman in the raggedy nightgown asked as we brought the boxes of food in. Her question was almost as startling as walking into the house that I thought would be beautiful on the inside, but which defied my assumption. We had been driving in a wealthy neighborhood with almost all extravagant homes, and when I heard that the next food drop off was taking place right here in Great Neck, I was shaken. Pulling up to the house, I was even more surprised; seeing this beautiful residence, I wondered what lay inside.

Having entered my first year of high school nearly a month earlier, when I heard about the food drive the school was sponsoring, I felt a strong desire to get involved. I had told myself that I was getting older and in the past had not done enough to contribute and give back to my community. Finding out that students could not only donate to the food drive, but help in delivering the food to needy families, I jumped at the opportunity to go along. I felt it would be rewarding not only to donate food, but to actually meet the families who needed it. The day of the food drop, I was shocked that many of the houses we went to were not what one would traditionally consider “poor”. While some of the locations looked horrid and fulfilled my expectation of deplorable and poverty-stricken, I was shocked that many of the locales were also in upscale neighborhoods similar to the one in which I lived.

Walking into this last stop on the route, I immediately scanned the house; I was very curios to see the inside, never expecting what was there. There were two children living in this house with a mother and a grandmother. They had four mattresses set up on the main floor; they all slept in that one cramped room with their clothing spread out everywhere. The entire space was extremely messy. I looked at the upstairs realizing that there were no lights on and it appeared pretty abandoned. I believe that the family was trying to save energy and money by not using the upstairs portion of the home.

Many things seemed to be very ironic during this food drop. As I was putting the boxes down, I saw the kitchen and was stunned. It was a lovely-looking kitchen, if you could ignore the stench and the sight of garbage everywhere. It was evident that the residents did not keep up with the basic household duties. I then had a chance to look at the “bedroom” one more time. There happened to be a very large television in there. I found it strange that a room filled with only mattresses and clothing would also have such a luxury item in it. I felt like parts of the house looked like they belonged to a beautiful mansion, however, then I would look right next to it and see things that I bother me to this day. I felt terrible for the children who lived in that home.

After leaving the house I went to the home of the woman facilitating the food drop and spoke with her daughter. I told her what I had just experienced and how surprised I was because I’d never recognized that the problem of poverty was this bad. I felt so awful that after giving this family two boxes filled to the brim with flowers and food, the grandmother still asked for more. I was told not to worry because the next day a second run for people who need more food would commence. Hearing this, a weight was lifted off my shoulders; not all of it, though. I still went home not being able to get this specific family off my mind. I really felt guilty; I started to remember all of the times that I went to the supermarket with my mom and just threw items in the cart without even thinking. I should have considered each item, realizing that some families can’t just throw in whatever they’d like. I held a newfound sense of appreciation for all that I have and realized that the plight of families who do not have enough food is one that must be recognized. It is now my personal mission to contribute to and work on every food drive and food drop that I hear about.

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scribbleer2000 said...
Jan. 4, 2012 at 6:23 pm
it was good, don't get me wrong but it honestly didn't have enough feeling in it. The message is amazing but you're only describing what you did, not how you felt. SHOW DON'T TELL!!!
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