Volunteer at an organization – SERVICE
I was introduced to this Organization three years back and I was quite driven by the work of the volunteers who actually became the medium between the food and the people who could not afford a meal. It is a zero-funds organization that works to get surplus food from restaurants to the less fortunate sections of society in cities across India and 14 other countries.
I had always wanted to join the cause and become a volunteer myself. This pandemic also made me realize how difficult it might’ve been for the poor children and adults to look for food and not sleep empty stomach. I registered myself as a volunteer online and got enrolled in Surat’s Organization group . I was quite excited to volunteer and go to places and distribute food while following the Covid precautionary measures as well . As of now , I have volunteered and participated in two drives where, in the first one , we were supposed to collect milk on the Republic Day from the donor and distribute the milk packets to the children of the slum two different locations. The second drive took place on 14th of February where we celebrated Roti Day -collected food from many different donors , brought in some of our own – and distributed it to the children . I realized that by being a volunteer, all you had to give was time , because our little patience and efforts can actually make a difference and as the motto goes ” Serve the hungry citizens” gets accomplished. These drives also made me realize that we , who can afford scrumptious ,and healthy food, have this luxury to throw it away in the trash without thinking twice while the other section of the society cannot even think to afford this luxury.
The learning outcomes under this CAS experience are as follows-
LO1 – Identify own strengths and develop areas of growth :
While volunteering at several drives for this organization I was able to identify that I was well acquainted and good at communicating with the children from the slums and at instructing them to maintain discipline and an appropriate queue . I was also able to adjust with the new surroundings immediately and did not face any discomfort during the drives , instead it made me happy and satisfied at the end of each food distribution with a thought of helping and reaching out to the children .
LO5- Demonstrate the skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively
The drives that I volunteered into were all based on working collaboratively and coordinating with the others constantly . Firstly , to volunteer in a drive , I had to append my name in the list of volunteers who were willing to volunteer. Secondly , we had to coordinate and confirm with our leader about the timings and the meeting spot. Then , we had to be there on time , wait for the donors to donate the surplus food to our group members and then to go to the slums . In the entire journey , coordination and communication was quite important. Upon reaching the site of the distribution , we had to arranger a setup where we could place the huge food containers . One of the group members went door to door to inform them about free food. Once we had the children with their bowls and plates , it was our duty to instruct them to form a queue and maintain social distance. We often had to tell them to maintain their queues . Some of us had to stand at the setup to transfer the food from the containers to their plates. In the milk drive we had our gloves on and we distributed a milk packet to each one of them . All of these activities required members who were pro active , could instruct the people well and coordinate with the others . I sometimes instructed them to form proper queue and practice social distancing or transferred the food , it was more or less like a buffet system. I was quite happy with myself and the other group members to carry out the drive quite smoothly where no food was wasted and everything was distributed equally and we did have satisfied children and older people who didn’t had to think that day about their next meal.
LO6- Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance
One third of the food produced around the world is never consumed, and one in every eight people sleeps hungry each night. (https://robinhoodarmy.com) Here, the energy in producing food and the resources which are wasted along with the unequal distribution of food are issues of global significance. With the huge waste that is generated by dumping the surplus food leads to the wastage of energy and resources involved in the process of making it and along with it ,a child perhaps misses the opportunity of getting a healthy meal that day . These two problems are connected to each other and if ignored may lead to problems in the near future for the environment and the citizens . When I checked on the website of this Organization , I was shocked to see the statistics of the people and children who suffer more from hunger than any other issue . I did my own research on the internet and was angry and overwhelmed at the same time to find out that the food which is in a good condition, goes to waste on a regular basis either in either restaurants or in huge social functions like birthday celebrations and marriage functions etc. These findings certainly did change my attitude towards food and volunteering at the this Organization did seem as a step toward the cause of “serve the hungry citizen”.
LO7 – Recognize and consider the ethics of choices and actions.
Before joining this organization as a volunteer , I searched about it and the number of people it impacted . I was quite moved by this simple yet thoughtful idea of this organization and knew what I was volunteering for and stepping into . By planning and carrying this CAS experience , I was able to take charge of its outcome .
The CAS LEARNER PROFILE ATTRIBUTES that I was able to identify are as follows:
Inquirers and Thinkers : For this CAS experience , I had searched well beforehand which helped me to communicate with the team leaders and ask them as many questions as possible for each and every drive which they carried out . I had always had a question about hunger and poverty and the different means with which I would be able to help those in need and by approaching the right organization for this very thought , I think I am able to identify myself with the attributes stated above.
Principled – While volunteering at each drive , we were instructed to treat every person with equal dignity and respect and not discriminate any one on the basis of cast , creed , gender , race , and religion . I made sure to follow the instructions and performed the task assigned with a strong sense of fairness and respect for the dignity of the individual , group , and community .
Caring – To be able to volunteer for such an idea , one has to be empathetic and caring towards the individuals who need help . They have to make a personal commitment to service and act to make a positive change in the society and in a such a case , bridge the gap between extra food and poor children and helpless individuals .
Reflective – Through this experience I was able to reflect upon my own choices and opinions about food as a necessity and not a luxury to be waste and taken granted . I was able to realize the consequences of throwing away excess food by volunteering in such drives and distributing fresh meals to the children and people .