On 30 October 2014, The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released a report saying that on a given night in the month of January, more than 578,000 people had experienced homelessness, with nearly 136,000 of those being children. On Monday, 17 November 2014, the National Center on Family Homelessness released a report that stated 1 in every 30 children, or approximately 2.5 million kids, are homeless in America.
Homelessness in America is real. Many times we don’t realize the reality of the issue in our local communities due to our inability to sympathize with those who simply don’t have anything. We go about our days as if life is a regular 9-5pm work day. We drive our luxury cars and we come home and go to bed in a warm, cozy house or apartment. We have the ability to take baths and showers in the most luxurious bathrooms whenever we feel the need. We have the ability to pay multiple visits to a refrigerator that is completely overstocked with items that we sometimes don’t ever open or eat. And very sadly, a lot of times we just end up throwing those items away.
Because homelessness at our home front is continuously growing, my classmates and I decided to do something about it. This week was Homelessness Awareness Week at the Hope Harvest Food Bank (non-profit organization) in Columbia, SC and we thought it to be a perfect time to serve our community. We decided that we needed to “think bigger.” We recognized that although we are blessed, there are many people who are very unsure as to where their next meal is coming from. And because of this, we wanted to make the effort to alleviate that uncertainty for some families in the local Midland area by partnering up with the Harvest Hope Food Bank to host a food drive in our classroom.
Running out of time and frantically shopping at the very last minute, my classmates and I gathered together to support a cause that was “bigger” than us. We collected a total of 1,095 items totaling to 783lbs of food in just 4 days!
My classmates went above and beyond any of my expectations in such a short period of time. I was extremely proud of them. All of my classmates were very willing to contribute to this cause and it warmed my heart to know that they cared. Although it may be a while before I ever see any of them again, I know that this will leave a lasting impact on myself and the local Columbia Midlands Community. They gave willingly and sacrificed once again for someone other than themselves. They freely took the opportunity to “think bigger.” Each team strategically worked together to fill their respective boxes and fulfill the Harvest Hope Food Bank wish lists for the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holiday seasons.
So, in closing, I would like to encourage you to “think bigger” than yourself during this holiday season. There are so many people who would love to have those pantry food items that you throw away just because you have no need for them. They would love to eat the leftovers that you plan on throwing out the next day just because you want to eat something new. Just as my classmates found it imperative to serve others and bless the less fortunate during this holiday season, I pray that you will as well. If you don’t know where a local food bank is, find a shelter or a local Salvation Army and donate there. There’s always something you can do to help someone else but often times, we just don’t take the time to “think bigger.” Remember, it’s bigger than you. THINK BIG. It’s BIGGER than you.