Making a Life by What We Give
On Friday, I visited Oakland Terrace Elementary School in Silver Spring to speak with 85 second graders about hunger. The second graders at Oakland Terrace spent the past six weeks studying nutrition, and recently conducted a Healthy Cereal drive for Manna Food Center. Go second grade!
In my visit, the 85 students and I discussed Manna’s work in the community, practiced creating healthy plates with food models, and read the book I Will Never Not Ever Eat A Tomato by Lauren Child. The youth shared personal connections to the book, siblings who “tricked” them into eating healthy foods they now enjoy. Point for Team Broccoli!
When I asked the students what they know about Manna’s work, the majority of students could practically recite our mission. But one little boy in the back of the room patiently raised his hand to ask, “WHY do you help people get food who can’t afford to get food?” I told him that I grew up near Washington D.C. and was only in kindergarten when I saw people sleeping on the streets and lining up for food. It just didn’t sit right with me that I could have food every day and some people couldn’t.
It might shock you how many people I encounter in my life–and these are grown-ups–who ask me the same question as this little boy. Last month, a 93-year-old asked the same thing–so I posed this question to our staff, both new and veteran…
Why do YOU help people get food who can’t afford food?
“Food is every person’s right. Those who can help others should take the time to do so.” Marie Kozlowski, Volunteer Manager
“Because I feel very lucky that I’ve never had to be hungry. It seems like a good balance that someone who has food would give to someone who doesn’t.” Jackie DeCarlo, Executive Director
“I like to give back to the community, I’ve been very lucky in my life. I used to just donate money, now I donate my time too.” Tom, Manna Volunteer
“I get a sense of fulfillment in giving back.” Edwin Drijas, Assistant Operations Director
“Everyone has to eat to live.” Mike Carter, Manna Driver
“I feel that I’m giving something back to someone in need. It’s rewarding to know that they’ll leave Manna and be able to put food on their table. They’ll go to bed tonight with food in their stomach.” Blanche ‘Miss Sunshine’ Hall, Food Distribution Staff Member
No matter your reason, if you feel called to give back to your neighbors in need, find out about healthy foods we need here, and use this grocery list to shop with your family for Manna’s shelves. Or, give however much you can to support Manna’s work; we turn a $1 contribution into $3-$5 worth of food for our neighbors. If time is the gift you would like to give, come stock our shelves with your own two hands, we can always use adult volunteers! E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .