A few months ago, I was taking a detour home to avoid the notoriously horrendous Southern California traffic. On my way, I drove by a place called Second Harvest of Orange County. When I got home, I Googled it. Second Harvest is a food bank that supplies food and goods to homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and those in need all over Orange County.
I’ve always felt for a long time like I don’t do enough to help others. To be a contributing member of society. Even still, I know writing this blog helps people and I am so grateful for that but at the time I found out about Second Harvest, I was feeling like that still wasn’t enough. Like I needed to put my words into action too. So I signed up for the first Saturday shift I could and that just so happened to be yesterday.
I was admittedly nervous as I drove down to their main headquarters. New experiences with potential unexpected obstacles always freak me out a little bit. But once I got there and walked inside with the other volunteers, I was immediately more at ease.
When most people think of Orange County, I think they think of palm trees and of beaches. Some might even think of Laguna Beach, The OC or The Real Housewives. But there’s many other sides to Orange County. There is a lot of poverty. Where I live and where I work, I see homeless people every single day. We aren’t all driving Mercedes and living the life of luxury. In fact, over 400,000 people in our relatively small county don’t know where their next meal is coming from (an extremely sad fact I learned yesterday).
So to spend 3 hours of my time on a Saturday helping to do a service that would help a place that provides for over 200,00 of those people? I was honored. I spent those 3 hours counting and cutting Capri Sun straws for children’s hospitals, schools, and other children in need. It may seem like a small menial task but knowing those straws were going to go to kids who couldn’t otherwise afford a Capri Sun or couldn’t always count on having food on the table, meant so much. The 3 hours flew by and I met some other great volunteers.
I struggled with wanting to even post anything about this because I think volunteering should be something you do out of the goodness of your heart. Not just to fulfill community service or to post something on social media to make yourself look better or philanthropic. But I decided it was better to risk sounding like I’m rubbing in that I volunteered this weekend in order to bringing awareness to Second Harvest and to the impact volunteering can have.
I plan on volunteering with Second Harvest at least once a month. There’s a lot of other things we all could be doing on Saturdays: watching TV, shopping, sleeping off the fun from the night before, or a hundred other things. When you think about it though, 3 hours is really such a small amount of time, but devoting your time to a charitable organization can have the most amazing and far reaching consequences that last much much longer.