We met a remarkable group of faith-based, high school students this week. Photos from their visit are here. We asked junior, Anastasia to write about her experience. Here is what she had to say.
By Anastasia – “On November 4, 2015, fifteen eleventh-grade students from Cardinal Spellman High School, including myself, hopped in a bus and drove almost an hour to Acushnet for one of the most eye-opening experiences of our lives. As none of us had ever been to GiftsToGive or knew about everything it stands for, we quite frankly didn’t know what to expect for the trip. Despite this, though, the students and I were just as excited as ever to get to work and make a difference in the poverty surrounding our area.
We met a GiftsToGive volunteer manager upon arrival and from his enthusiasm we knew our experience would be worth something. Throughout the day, he put us all to work sorting clothes, folding clothes, cleaning and sorting toys, organizing toys, pairing shoes, and everything else imaginable you can do in an old factory full of thousands of pounds of donations per week. Students and senior citizen volunteer staffers worked side-by-side for the good of thousands of children living in poverty in our area today. The numbers were appalling and gave everyone a new perspective on the poor in America and just how large that population is. 24 million children in America live in poverty.
GiftsToGive’s philosophy in incorporating all of the generations to help others really comes to life at the GiftsToGive factory, and to get a firsthand opportunity to work hands-on towards this goal was an honor.
GiftsToGive couldn’t help but remind me of Santa’s Workshop, a place where young and old make innocent dreams come true. We learned how the wrapping paper used for the birthday presents sent out every week was decorated by children as young as 3 and 4. Senior citizen volunteers work as employees, and teen volunteers from schools all over come to take part in the goodness of serving. No matter how small or how tall, everybody has a place, and everything has a purpose at GiftsToGive. As it says on the wall in the colorful entrance of the building, “Everybody can be great, because everyone can serve.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
“I didn’t expect the level of organization at the facility…it [GiftsToGive] really allows for people of all ages to volunteer and serve someone.” – Caitlin, chaperone.
“It was very rewarding to help these children who don’t have all of the necessities we take for granted.” – Jewel, student.
“As far as giving goes, I was impressed with the standards they have for the quality of the donations. It really shows how much the people they [GiftsToGive] serve mean to them, and goes against the typical notion of ‘beggars can’t be choosers.’ It’s an equality thing, and I think that’s so empowering to the people receiving the donations.” – Emily, student.”