After the last few hectic weeks of school and work, a day off from classes sounded perfect. Spending it in Philadelphia doing community service, however, wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, but turned out to be just what I needed.
Upon receiving an e-mail from the Alumni board in regards to Sophomore Service Day, a friend and I decided to sign up. The e-mail was brief and somewhat elusive, only saying we would be volunteering in Philadelphia for the day.
Thursday morning my friend and I boarded the big yellow school bus-bringing me back to my high school years-and with 10 other sophomores we were quickly on our way to Philadelphia. On the bus ride we learned that we were going to Philabundance, the Philadelphia region’s food-rescue organization, to help sort food.
I’m not going to lie; I was a bit disappointed at first. Sorting food? That isn’t something I consider community service. I would much rather be offering a helping hand at a Boys and Girls Club, a nursing home, or anything interacting with people. Sorting food? How can that help someone? More importantly, how would that be fun?
As the bus got off at the 8th Street exit I became familiar with my surroundings. We passed The Electric Factory and Shampoo Night Club and continued down the street I had traveled countless times into an unfamiliar neighborhood.
Graffiti graced the sides of buildings, broken down cars sat in empty parking lots and row homes lined the street. We soon turned into the Philabundance parking lot and I begrudgingly began to rethink my decision on coming.
Our afternoon began by watching a short video explaining Philabundance and I quickly saw the importance of this organization and realized how much they help the community. After the video, the group of us were lead into the warehouse where we would be sorting food for distribution.
Over the next three hours we sorted boxes of candy, cookies, crackers and canned goods. The warehouse was stacked with food from the floor to the ceilings. It was amazing to see that all this food had been donated to Philabundance.
I have been doing community service for years now and this was the first time I wasn’t directly working with people. It was a completely different experience and feeling. I have distributed food at food drives and worked in soup kitchens and through this opportunity I was able to see all the work that goes into these events beforehand.
Seeing the empty crates that had been filled to the brim upon our arrival gave me such a feeling of accomplishment. Despite the work we did being tedious, the music we had playing and the attitudes of those who worked there made the day relaxing and enjoyable.
Knowing that our one afternoon of help made other people’s job a little easier and that all the food will end up in a home that truly deserves it makes me appreciate the little things in my life so much more.