Amber Blevins 3/13/12

The last day of volunteering wasn’t necessarily the most rewarding and it wasn’t the least either. We worked for a long time, and had a lot of work to do, but it wasn’t the hardest work that we have done. We were sorting miscellaneous things such as hair supplies, tooth brushes and tooth paste, and other things like that. We were told how the food bank has around 27,000 hours of time donated to them a year on average. In a way, that made me kind of feel like we weren’t needed as much; I mean, 27,000 hours is a lot of time. I started feeling like our time could have been spent better at a place that doesn’t get so much volunteer work. However, when she said, “but without volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to keep this place running.” Those 27,000 hours work into about 11-15 jobs that the food distribution group doesn’t have to pay salary for. So the more I think about it, the more I realize something. The way I had been thinking, about other place needing our time more, I’m sure others have thought about too, which would be discouraging the amount of volunteer hours the food distribution gets. If more and more people began thinking the way I was thinking, it would eventually lead to the distribution group to not be able to function without hiring more people, which I’m sure they cannot afford.
After we ate dinner, we went back to the building and our second task to start checking the expiration dates on medicine and tossing whatever had expired. That little job right there was probably the hardest thing I have had to do all week. There were a lot of medicines that could have been kept to help people that really need it. Children who need cough drops could have definitely used the ones that “expired” in December of 2011. However, according to code and policy, any medicine that is dated any time prior to January 1, 2012, had to be tossed out because it was considered expired. Well, there was certainly more medicine tossed than kept, let me tell you. Of course, some of It needed tossed out. According to companies’ and random people’s donations, apparently one man’s literal trash is another man’s treasure. It was still sad to me that so much of that medicine could have been used. The employees knew it could still be used, but they can’t break code or policy just in case, because were they to give out expired medicine and something bad happen, I’m sure many major legal issues would arise.
I think that we have all learned a lot since we’ve been volunteering on the trip. I know that my roommate, Morgan, and I really want to start volunteering more around Princeton. It’s a rewarding feeling that you can’t exactly explain. The only way you can know what I’m talking about is if you’ve done a hard day’s work for someone or a group of people that you do not know and that you may never meet. You aren’t completely aware of their situation and you don’t even know their names for the most part. All you need is the physical abilities to do the work that they do, the mental ability to realize that no matter how tedious the work, you’re helping someone in need, and the emotional ability to care enough that you’re fine with not getting paid or recognized. I do not see world peace all of the sudden revolutionizing anytime soon, but I truly, truly believe that people volunteering more (all that they can, in fact) is the absolute first step towards coexistence, world peace, and true joy around the earth. I’m sure I sound like a hippie, but if that’s what a hippie sounds like to you, maybe we should all bring that era back around and try to be what the world needs.

Chance Rader 3-14-2012

Throughout the past week giving my time for to help serve others, I have also earned many things. These things consist of skills for tasks, friendships, and knowledge. I say friendship because I have gained many friends on this trip, friendships that would have never happened if I had not been a part of this trip. I say that I gained skills because there were things I did on this trip that I probably would not have to do if I were not on this trip. Finally I say that I have gained knowledge because this whole trip has been a learning experience for me.
Throughout this trip I can honestly say that I did take more away from this trip than I put into it. This isn’t because of a lack of work or lack of input, but it’s because the places we worked at over the course of the week have people in charge that want to make a difference in other peoples’ lives. It was the positive and cheerful personalities of these people that made waking up to go to a site every morning worth getting out of bed. These people also did a fantastic job giving someone insight into how much the work you did at their sites contributes to their organization and the people involved with these organizations. I also found out that I like to learn and teach. This is because throughout the week I feel like I was constantly learning something or teaching something to or from Duc Ho and Ryuki Mura. This is not because we do not understand each other but because we were having such a good time at every service site.
Looking back at the time spent on this trip I would have to say that it has been a success.

ryuki mura march 13, 2012

Today is last day doing volunteer in charleston South Carolina. we went to the low country food bank, helped to work categorizing of unsold products. We were taken back then we started categorizing boxes and boxes of lotions, hair products, mouthwash, skin cleansers, and some an ornament for helloween and christmas and that was difficult to categorize because we did not forget the anti-aging creme that just seemed to be multiplying. Their work mainly get food from people, organizations, and sometimes the government that They have been working to help poor people giving their lives unsold products in supermarkets and pharmacies. This volunteer became good experience for me.

Ashley W.

Entering a food bank, I didn’t expect to be separating hygiene goods and medication. I pictured a huge building of canned goods and bags of cereal, I pictured us boxing meals for families in need and the homeless. Well it turns out what I pictured wasn’t at all what went on. However it comes down to this the Lowcountry’s first priority is to feed those in need, so here are all of the workers busy dealing with food the majority of time, and feeding someone should come first. So therefore our little bit of help went a long way, we took that extra stress off of them. We sorted through huge boxes of body wash, make-up, skin care, and toothpaste for a few good hours.
I learned a program built off of donations and funds sometimes can’t afford to employee a full house, therefore volunteers are of more than helpful. We were part of the 27,000 hours on average donated per year saving 15-20 jobs. What our group did today was appreciated so much they were very sure to let us know and that alone made me feel great! Every simple move made today was a step further to helping someone in need. The unselfishness that fills these type of places just amazes me. People like our group and myself amaze me, to take and give your time and energy to those in need it’s something to pride yourself in.
I never had much respect for the company Wal-Mart until today. I always thought of them as a huge company wanting to run smaller businesses off and control consumers all around. I always seen them to treat their employees horrible and pay very little with not so good benefits. Maybe they aren’t so bad after all after hearing the numbers they donate to the Lowcountry food bank I gasped, the building which was beautiful so nice and clean, Wal-Mart’s funds helped to create. It is amazing how such little things as much as donating a dollar here and there can build up to such huge helpful things.
We over look some of the smallest things everyday and I have mentioned this before but, it is funny to think of how many things we take for granted. Me typing this right now I have the opportunity to enroll in college to be studying something I truly love and to purchase a laptop to type my essays and reports. I take that for granted so often. I have gained so much from this trip. Educationally, spiritually, and I have gained a few friends along the way.

Erica-Tuesday

Today we went to the Lowcountry Food Bank.  This is a place where individuals, many businesses, and the government donate things for people in need.  They have food, medicine, and toiletries to give out.  They give these things to other organizations to give to people in need. They try to help people who don’t actually qualify for welfare or something like that but still need some assistance. We had to sort personal care items and check the expiration dates of medicine today.  There was a lot of stuff to go through but it seemed like we got it done pretty fast.

There was a lot of stuff to do today and when we first got to the food bank the woman who is in charge of volunteers started to tell us some information about the organization.  She said that they get a huge amount of donations each year and if it wasn’t for volunteers there would be no way they would be able to run.  They would have to hire so many extra people that they wouldn’t have the funds to work.  It felt really good to be able to do something simple but still make such a difference.

The most frustrating thing about today was definitely that everyone in my room was late this morning.  We were supposed to meet at the van this morning at 8:30  so we sat the alarm clock in our room for 7:30.  Kaylyn and Heather were planning on getting up right when the alarm went off and then they were going to wake me up at 8:00.  At 8:32 Kaylyn woke up and said that we hadn’t gotten up and it was time for us to be downstairs. We had to rush around the room and try to get ready fast.  We all felt really bad that everyone had to wait on us.  We were still early to the work site so that made it a little better.

After we finished our work for the day, we went shopping.  I had a good time with some people that I’ve gotten to know throughout this trip and bought a few new things.  I’ve had a really good time this week and I’m kind of sad that it’s almost over.  It’s been great getting to know people that I’ve never even seen before.  I hope we can all stay in touch once this trip is over.

Danielle Knight 3/13/2012

“1 in 4 children go hungry in the Lowcounty.” That was one of the signs that were hanging up in the window at the Lowcounty Food Bank. They collect, inspect, maintain, and distribute food products that would otherwise be thrown out to a grassroots network of over 320 member agencies providing hunger-relief services throughout the 10 coastal counties of South Carolina. When we arrived I thought we would be working with food so I was kind of taken back when we started sorting boxes and boxes of lotions, hair products, mouthwash, skin cleansers, and let’s not forget the anti-aging crème that jut seemed to be multiplying. I guess we were doing them a favor to save them some time but I didn’t really feel like I was making a difference. While sorting we found that many of the donations such as lotions had busted and they made quite a mess, although after we were done my hands were softer. After sorting a bunch of random items and taking a break for lunch we moved on to sort the medicine. We threw out what was expired and packed the good medicine in boxes. We all worked really well as a team and we were done with this task fairly quickly. After finishing with the medicine we taped up a few boxes of Christmas and Halloween decorations. What they were for, I have no clue but we taped them up anyway! Although I didn’t feel like I was doing a bunch for the organization I’m glad we could save them some time by organizing and over-all it was a good experience. At the end of our time there we said our goodbyes, took some pictures in front of an amazing mural I might add and headed back to the hotel. Finally our work week had ended. I am so glad that I was able to be a part of this trip and make a difference in the community of Lowcounty.

Heather Farley (Day 4)

Heather Farley

Day 4 (Tuesday)

Today, we volunteered our time at the Lowcounty Food Bank. They accept donations from people and businesses, sort it, and the goods are given to people in need. Before anything is sent out to people they make sure it’s safe and acceptable for use if necessary. We sorted through face wash, toothpaste, mouthwash, lotion, etc. and put them in their designated bin. This was our job for the morning, and after lunch we sorted through medicine and made sure it wasn’t expired.

A frustrating thing happened at the very start of the morning. My roommates and I ended up being 10 minutes late to the van. We aren’t sure if our alarm clock didn’t go off, or if it went off and we just didn’t hear it. One of us happened to wake up 2 minutes after we were already supposed to be at the van. Rushing around doesn’t make for a good morning, but thankfully, the group was nice enough to not leave us. Another frustrating thing was lotion bottles being busted open at the food bank, and picking it up without knowing.

A rewarding experience was helping to organize so many things, knowing that they would have to hire people if it wasn’t for volunteers. The food bank wouldn’t be able to keep helping people if they had to hire staff to do every single job. So I’m glad they have so many volunteers.

After dinner, a couple of us were able to lay in the tanning bed at a salon/spa. The place was so much nicer than the ones we have back home. The people were very friendly, and they even cleaned the beds for you. Although it was a little bit more for one session, I feel like the cleanliness and professionalism of the people made it worth it. The outlet mall was also fun. I liked how you had to walk outside to get to each store; even though it was raining some of the evening.

Katherine 3-13-12

Today is our last day doing volunteer work in South Carolina. We went to the Lowcountry Food Bank.  They collect, inspect, maintain, and distribute otherwise wasted food products from manufacturers, food distributors, the government, supermarkets, wholesalers along with farmers to redistribute these food products.  Before we were there, I thought we would be doing things that related to foods. Surprisingly, we sorted hair products, facial cleansers, medicines, toothbrush, toothpastes, make-ups and some other random things we found from the donation box from CVS.

It was the first time that we were not divided into groups, but working all together.  We had different chores though, some of us got the supplies out of the boxes that were filled with random things, brought it to the “sorting table” and some people separated them into different boxes.  It was a lot of fun, because it was like shopping at the mall and putting things into different carts.  Time went by very fast and it was already lunch time, so we went to lunch.

After eating, we came back to our “work”, since we finished what we were doing earlier, we got to sort out the medicine and check the expiration day on every single one of them. I felt very bad whenever I had to throw away a lot of them, because most of them were not even open in the first place.  I did not ask the staff what they were going to do with it, but hopefully they can find a way to reduce the waste as much as they can.  One of our teammates found it funny that we came to a food bank and we touch everything but food, but I am sure that if we would not have came, those workers that were suppose to work on sorting out the food would have had to do it, so we helped the community by saving their time.

It is wonderful to see people that work there have such a good attitude and like what they do. Without them, a lot of people would have to be hungry.  The lady that first greeted us told us that 54% of their clients were faced with a problem of either paying their electricity bills or buying food every month, and a lot of children were not feed from Friday’s lunch until Monday’s breakfast. The Lowcountry Food Bank‘s staff were very appreciate about the fact that we came in and helped. They also told us that their biggest donator is Wal-Mart, Inc and they have received countless numbers of food and grants from it.  I was very pleased when I heard that Wal-Mart does such good things to give their profit back to community instead of only caring about their shareholder. It has been a pleasure to work at the Lowcountry Food Bank and hopefully I will have a chance again next year!

Kaylyn Jennings, Day 4 (Tuesday)

We went to the Lowcounty Food Bank and they told us that they get food from people, organizations, and sometimes the government. They help people that need it, they often give food and other personal items to people that need it. Sometimes they give book bags full of food for children who often don’t get fed during the weekends. They also help to feed children by feeding them afterschool so that they get some kind of dinner for the night. They also send food to other organizations to provide food to the people who need it.

An awarding experience I had was again working with everyone as a group. I got to know everyone even better since we worked together to sort through boxes. The first few days people didn’t really talk to anyone else but as our trip comes to an end we’ve all gotten closer and started talking to each other more. Another rewarding thing is that we were able to help out the food bank by sorting through a lot of boxes. By sorting through these boxes we saved them money that they’d have to pay employees to do. I feel like I’ve really helped out the organization by us working together to organize all those personal things. A lot of those kids don’t get food on a daily basis or personal products that they might need, and organizations like this help to provide people who need these things with these products. They’re unfortunate to struggle in life when I feel like I’m struggling just because I’m trying to limit how much money I use; these people don’t have the money to even worry about buying extra things like I do. I feel like I now take things for granted compared to the people who are barely getting by every day. Without these donations that they receive, they might not be able to own a place to live. I feel blessed that my mother provides us with dinner every night, and we have leftovers after dinner that we eat the next day, when a lot of people don’t even get dinner every night.

A frustrating experience I had was when we were all sorting through the boxes, there’d be a busted lotion bottle, and the lotion would be all over the box and all the other products. That’d lotion would get all over our hands and be completely nasty. I felt like I had to wash my hands at least 5 times before they felt clean again. It was also frustrating when there’d be boxes that were open and things would fall out and you’d have to find them in the bottom of the box where all the personal items were.

Another experience I had was when we went to the Tanger Outlet I went shopping with a new friend. We didn’t really talk too much at first, but we really started talking to each other when we went shopping and she helped me pick out a complete outfit (I’m a very picky shopper). It was great to make a new friend today and I feel like this trip has helped me to make new friends and to learn to work together with people we don’t know.

Lauren Stevens

Today on our last service day of the Alternative Spring Break trip, we served at the Lowcountry Food Bank. Just by the name of the organization, we all automatically assumed that we were going to be sorting food and filling orders to be sent out to families in need. This was not the case though. We spent our morning and afternoon sorting these huge boxes of soaps, hair supplies, and the surplus of anti-aging cream followed by inspecting all of the medicine to be sure they were not past the expiration date. At the beginning it was a bit frustrating because there were four of us sent back to the hotel to change because we were not wearing “appropriate close-toed shoes” even though my shoes were in fact close toed just not tennis shoes so they were deemed unacceptable. Then when we returned with new shoes, all of the others had already started and had their own system and knew exactly what they were doing. I felt sort of lost so one of our leaders and I jumped in on the other side and took things that matched and sat them on the table to be put into their coordinating boxes. Once I realized what it was that I needed to do, I felt more comfortable. Also we were told more about the center and what it is they do, which is to package their donated products and take them to their distributors that get them to the people in need. To have it put fully into perspective of just how much food they go through, we were told that all of the shelves were filled with the packages of food and since only last week it has gone from being full to being more than halfway empty. Seeing this and realizing just how much it takes to keep this organization on top of things and to keep the food in the hungry families homes was just hard to comprehend. There was just so much in this building that would only sustain the families for such a short period of time but it’s these basic necessities that so many take for granted because they have never had a day where they just had to go hungry because they didn’t have the money for food. At the end of the day it felt great to be able to help this organization as much as we were able since they do so much for their community.

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