Just for Organization

Friday, May 30, 2014

Enloe's Food Pantry

One evening, in April of this year, when my family was gathered around the kitchen table eating our healthy Oriental-styled dinner, we received a phone call. Turns out, it was one of my school's principal's informative phone calls, aimed at engaging the parents of our school. To my surprise, Mr. Lyons, the principal, fervidly informed us that the IFFS has partnered with our school to create Enloe's Food Pantry. I was, in result, filled with emotions that span from excitement, admiration, jealousy, and confusion. At the time, the negative emotions that had came out of hearing such good news were caused by my own wanting to start a school food pantry. So within that ephemeral cloud of feeling as if I was stabbed in the gut all the while having my compass spinning out of control, I was lost. Lost and seeking direction. But as I began to push that evil selfishness out of my brain's cockpit, I began to realize that this was indeed extremely good news for my school, the community, and most importantly, the people that will be helped. This is when the admiration kicked in. I admired the actions that IFFS took to make this happen. And I especially admire their ability to find a growing problem and begin to fix it; as many people just find the problem but don't put in the effort to work out the solution for it, leaving the issue the way it was - exacerbating. I will revert to my last post, in which I said (more like asked) "Many people are already making their footprint, so how can we expand that footprint and utilize the infrastructure that they created for us through blood and sweat? That is the question." In that moment, I met a curved road (reference back to the last paragraph of my previous post on May 20th) but that bump had a much bigger opportunity for growth just around the corner. Using this method of thinking (the quote/question) I started brainstorming ways to improve the wonderful infrastructure. I knew that I wanted to learn much more about the system, but how could I contribute my own part? This is when I knew that I needed to start a club at my school. This is how the idea of The Food Ark (club version; not blog version) was born.

When I went back to school after Spring Break, the first thing I saw on the walls were posters advertising the Food Pantry's services. I was intrigued and even more enthusiastic about the Food Pantry because now I knew that more and more people are caring and acknowledging these omnipresent issues. This is the picture I took of the flyer. Currently, there are replicates in many classrooms and hallways, although, some disrespectful people tear them and other posters down.

You see, after taking this picture, I didn't know what to do next. But after meeting with my very passionate mentor, I gained inspiration, direction, and from that meeting, I knew what I had to do next. The very next day, I payed Student Services a visit during my lunch period. I have only gone to Student Services once or twice due to the fact that I do not have any classrooms in that building, so the first thing I noticed when I pulled open the heavy door was that the lady behind the reception desk was bilingual, English and Spanish, and was helping out some students. As I waited for my turn, I started observing my surroundings. SAT and AP books and flyers were lied down on the bookshelf that lined the underside of the wall of windows, which was right across from the door. There were several kids at the computers working (how I know? They were on Word, Powerpoint, etc), a couple were lunch-less, and only one had a perfunctory white Styrofoam tray on them. They were all quiet and reserved. The air was very silent save the Spanish that was being spoken by the receptionist and the students that she was aiding. There was a hallway that contained the rest of the counselor's offices and meeting rooms around the receptionist's desk. 

(Photo of Ms. Brandy Lyons - the amazing woman in charge of the Food Pantry at Enloe)

When it was my turn, I gently approached the receptionist but she was so amiable that talking seemed like a breeze with her, so I opened up my curiosity about the Food Pantry to her. She told me everything she knew about it from the counselor who manages it (whom I later meet and work with) with her heart and soul, to the different foods that are brought, to the types of people who are positively affected. I was excited. However, I sensed something was wrong, because human psychology has proven that people have pride and some, but not all, people are uncomfortable receiving much needed help. Then I asked her probably the most significant question within the conversation; I asked her how many people SHE thinks really need the service. She answered with one of her own experiences since helping out the Food Pantry.

"There was one girl, who came in to see me. I could tell she really needed it so I sat her down to talk to her about the program but she kept refusing. However, there was a hesitation within the girl's rejection. And in my gut, I knew she felt bad about her situation, as if she was embarrassed. There are so many more kids and families out there that are in the same position as she is in right now; they are in a tough place but need to realize that there are people who want to help. That is the hardest part, getting the people to come in. Some parents come in as well, and some people who don't have an affiliation with the school also come..."

We continued to talk and I continued to learn and pitch ideas. Near the end of our conversation, she let me leave a note for the counselor who is in charge of the Food Pantry about my interest in the service. I left feeling like the fog in my view lightened up a teeny bit because I gained more connections and I was one step closer, but at the same time, another wave of fog blocked my view even more because it occurred to me that I am just on the surface of a massive ball of complexity. Sigh. Oh well, one step at a time.

We all take necessities that become commodities for granted. We must be humble and use our own resources and comfort to bring others the same resources and comfort. For hope is light in everyone's eyes. One person could change the life of another and that affected person could change the life of another and so on and so forth. Let's make a ripple.

Photos found on IFFS website. Check out the article on the Enloe Food Pantry on the IFFS website!

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