Listening To Emma!

GiftsToGive_december19-2015 tnA story about her visit with her classmates, from Emma. Photos from their day are here.

It’s a Saturday in Acushnet, and a group of students from Rising Tide Charter Public High School are spending it sorting clothes. Rising Tide’s Community Action Club has been planning their December 19 trip to GiftsToGive for weeks, and twenty five students arrived in the sprawling warehouse building excited to work.

Caroline, a sophomore, wasn’t expecting GiftsToGive to be so large. “They have an incredibly big building, with so many different sections, it really makes you see how many people they can impact,” she said. Johnny was also surprised by by GiftsToGive. “I didn’t expect there to be so many other volunteer groups here,” he said, sifting through a bin of donated clothes, deciding what to pass on to other charity foundations and what to fold and sort for GiftsToGive to donate themselves. “A lot of the clothes are really nice, there are a lot of warm coats and long pants that I’m happy to see, but some of the clothes are too worn and thin for what GiftsToGive is looking for. We have to be picky,” he said, tossing a sweater into the “Keep” pile.

GiftsToGive_december19-2015 047tnCommunity Action Club at Rising Tide was only formed this past semester, and the trip to GiftsToGive was the club’s first service trip. The club’s founder and co-president, sophomore Sam, started the Community Action Club when because of the difficulty he knew teens under the age of eighteen face when trying to volunteer. “I thought Community Action Club would be a good platform for students at Rising Tide who knew they wanted to make a change, but maybe didn’t know how to start,” he said. GiftsToGive was perfect for Community Action Club’s first outing. The non-profit fighting child poverty welcomes youth volunteers and encourages young people to get involved in service.

GiftsToGive_december19-2015 015tnThe students arrived at GiftsToGive with donations gathered at Rising Tide. They worked a collective seventy hours helping GiftsToGive sort through donations that will provide clothing to families. “It’s important to me that the students understand the context of the work they are doing,” said Heather, the group’s teacher adviser. GiftsToGive also helped to provide the students with that context. “It’s kind of mind blowing how many people don’t have the things we all take for granted,” said Julia, a junior at Rising Tide, towards the end of the trip.

Several students said they planned to come back to GiftsToGive to volunteer on their own, and the club hopes to come back again as a group.

“My mom has always taught me that if you have it good, you have to give that good back,” Olivia said, folding up a knit sweater. “That’s why I joined Community Action, and that’s why I’m volunteering.”

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