We heard our friend Dan was organizing a service project, but we didn’t think too much of it at first because we just got out of two months when Norm had been out-of-town (January) or was pretty much not home most nights after work due to serving at church in new ways (February), and this month is jam-packed with medical and dental appointments and academic testing. This is on top of all of our regular commitments and groups/classes….and life. Geez, and I only have two kiddos. :p But as someone who has always been a part of service clubs through all of school (any Jr. Optimist Clubbers or Key Clubbers (how do you feel?) out there?), we really couldn’t turn down an opportunity to serve as a family. Most of the volunteer opportunities I have seen usually have a minimum age of 10 or 12 (except the SF food bank which only opens up for younger ones on Sunday mornings the last time I checked), and Melody just turned 10, so this seemed like a rare chance since kiddos who are older 1st graders can volunteer! Well, I’m so glad we got to be a part of this experience. Melody will tell you more about it below!
Why We Were There
Kids Against Hunger is an organization that gives food to malnourished kids who live across the world. I thought it was really cool when I found out about it, and I thought, “Why not give it a try?” So here’s a peek inside what we did there. Keep reading to find out!
We went to this organization because we saw a post about it on Facebook from my mom’s friend. I just happened to be there, looking over her shoulder, and then she asked me if I wanted to go to the warehouse. I said yes, and that’s where our adventure started.
When you get there, you can sign in at the front, as soon as you walk through the door. You can see below there are four computers. You can pre-pay online before you come or when you sign in. But either way, you still have to sign in. It costs $20 per person. When I heard, I was like, “Ahh!” But I really wanted to help the kids, and, as you’ll find out below, it was really worth it.
This is a table in the front room. I didn’t really look at it because I wasn’t the one taking pictures (I’m not the photographer in the family, all my photos have reflections or cutoffs) and so this table looks like it has brochures on it. You can find out more about Kids Against Hunger, I guess. They send food to malnourished kids overseas.
Next, we were guided to a room in the back-not the very back, but the middle, I guess? It was a little small for our group, but we managed. I was the second-smallest one, besides my sister, whom you know as Emily! There, we labeled the bags below. We couldn’t miss a single one, we were told, or else they couldn’t be shipped. We actually got done pretty fast. I think it was like 10-15 minutes. I don’t know. My parents probably would though!
What We Did
So, THIS is the fun part. This is going to take me a while to describe. I was a bagger, which meant I held open the bags for the ingredients to be dumped in. The bags were the ones that had already been labeled. The ingredients were: soy, veggies, vitamins, and rice. I’m saying this in the order of the chant we made up when we dumped the ingredients in. You have to remember who dumped it in before you. (photo cred: Dan)
This is a refilling of the soy. The soy goes first in the bag. This means it can’t be taken out easily. That’s a lot of soy!
After all the ingredients go in, the bags go to the weighers. They weigh the bags and make sure they have enough food in them. Then they pass the bags along to the sealers, who stick the tops of the bags in a machine (below) and seal them. Now you can’t really easily get the food out. One last one, the last, is the counters. They put the bags in boxes and count them, to see how many kids we fed. I’ll tell you the number at the end. I didn’t get a chance to be one of these jobs, although I wish I was one of these.
This is us, my whole family. I think you recognize everyone in here. I hope you recognize me! There I am, getting ready to put my bag under the funnel so the food can get dumped in. This is so the kids can get as many nutrients as possible. (photo cred: Dan)
This is from the end-of-the-table view, showing my mom, sister, and the weigher and sealer. We talked quite a bit during our time there, and it was really fun. (photo cred: KAHBA)
How Much Food Did We Pack?
We packed…..drumroll, please…..16 boxes of bags, and that adds up to 3, 840 kids that we fed! (Each bag contains meals for 6 kids.) All of the bags we packed that day go to Badjao Bridge, if you don’t know what that is, that is a native tribe who live on houses on stilts above the sea in the Philippines. Sometimes they don’t have meals, so this will be a big help for them. (photo cred: Dan)
A picture below is shown with them telling us the number of kids we fed, which was a lot. Every kid counts. (photo cred: Dan)
Here is Mr. Dan, who is the founder of Badjao Bridge, talking about who the tribe is and what his organization does for the sea-dwellers. And in the background, you can see Ms. Sherri who is the satellite director of Kids Against Hunger Bay Area. It runs on all volunteers, which means only volunteers pack the meals.
There were other groups who came after us. They packed meals with Kids Against Hunger and donated to Badjao Bridge as well. That’s a lot of people! (We were trying to get out then, too.)
Making a Difference
And here is a wall, showing how many meals they have packed over the years. As you can see, they packed 2,138,616 meals in 2016. That’s a lot of meals! The numbers get higher and higher. So, if you’re reading this post, I encourage you to go and help a child, because every minute a child is dying. We watched a video after the earthquake in Haiti, and I was literally crying, wondering what they were saying. They seemed to be staring at the wreckage. Remember: Every little bit counts. (You can view the video in the following link titled Andy’s Haiti Video –> kahbayarea.org/downloads/videos)
This is us! We were given samples of the food we had just made. It didn’t taste too bad, surprisingly. To me, it’s hard to think that kids my age are still suffering. What I learned from this experience: Together, we can make a difference. We can change the outcome.
What are some of the service projects you and/or your family have been a part of locally or globally? What was the experience like?