Listening to Gabriela

GiftsToGive_October21-2015_ GCWe see thousands of students every year – sometimes we ask one of them to write a story of their experience. Sometimes one of their stories makes us stop what we are doing and listen – really listen.

Today we are listening to Gabriela; you should too!



My GiftsToGive Story, by Gabriela

GiftsToGive_October21-2015_ 229-webOn the twenty-first of October, 2015, our freshman class of about 150 Bishop Stang High School students, including myself, went to the GiftsToGive Organization for the day to offer up our time, dedication, and willingness to serve others. Upon arrival I was hesitant and blank as to what I may encounter during the day. I was pleasantly surprised. I got so much out of the day and will continue to be inspired by the impressive work that is done by volunteers and staff at GiftsToGive daily. (Photos from the day are here.)

GiftsToGive_October21-2015_ 146-X2When I first saw the facility I was blown away. I had expected a small operation, with a shabby building with little to no color. Instead, when I entered the building, I saw a bright and cheerful large building with a floor of color filled with thousands of donations. Before we were assigned our volunteer duties for the day, we received an orientation from a volunteer staffer. He gave us a very inspirational introduction on what GiftsToGive stands for. He provided some hard facts of how serious and urgent the problem of child poverty and hunger really is and how GiftsToGive strives to alleviate some of it in our neighboring towns. He stressed how approximately 24 million children in the U.S. struggle with poverty on a daily basis. He asked us how would we feel if we had to wear the same underwear for days at the time. Certainly this is something that the average person takes for granted yet it helped us put into perspective the reason why we were there and what we as individuals can do to help. GiftstToGive is a clear example of the impact that a group of volunteers can make when they work together.

GiftsToGive_October21-2015_ 034-1903x1070As we were separated into our specified jobs, we received directions and tasks to accomplish. I was placed in the book sorting section with about 11 other students. We were in charge of sorting books by age, gender, and condition. After they were sorted into appropriate tables we wrapped up packages that would be sent to a child. Along with book sorting, there was school supply organization, cleaning dolls and dressing them properly, game checking which made sure all games were complete, toy cleaning, clothes sorting by size, condition, gender, and style, a baby safety job to ensure all baby gear was safety compliant, stuffed animal sorting, shoe sorting, crayon and colored pencil organization, and puzzle sorting to name a few. All of the different jobs utilized the time and talent of each student and by the end of the day, all the work done by the individual groups was cleared out and sorted. We all felt extremely proud of what we had accomplished in those few hours. Each toy or article of clothing that was processed will be crucial to someone’s life and by the end of our visit, that was our main focal point.

GiftsToGive_October21-2015_ 119-1903x1070A few of my friends expressed that: ”Spending a day at GiftsToGive made me think twice about how lucky I am without having to do anything,” “Coming here makes me realize that the things I have, I should be more grateful for,” and “My experience at GiftsToGive made me realize how grateful I am to have the things others do not.”

GiftsToGive_October21-2015_ 010-1903x1070They all express one true message, that people do not normally realize how privileged they are until they are met with the facts of reality that so many people suffer everyday. By volunteering for just one day we were helping to end child poverty, to give a child proper clothing, to get toys to a juvenile that needs to develop and discover, and to commit to helping others like we are called to do every day.

GiftsToGive_October21-2015_ 002-1903x1070This experience has inspired me to want to come back to GiftsToGive, to donate my resources and time, and to encourage others to get involved. It has taught me that although we may think that our help may not make a big difference, together we can make a substantial change with more volunteer hours and hard work. I pray that one day, all children should be able to live with the proper necessities that they need to grow and become brilliant, bright minds of the future.”

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