This past Summer, I volunteered at the High Water Women Annual Backpack Drive held at the Credit Suisse building in Manhattan. High Water Women is a non-profit organization that educates, helps, and supports low-income women and youth. Each year, the organization donates backpacks filled with school supplies to thousands of children in need as part of their mission plan. At this year’s drive, I helped pack these backpacks, organize supplies, transport deliveries, and recycle boxes.
“Stewardship is a coming together of our major testimonies. To be good stewards in God’s world calls on us to examine and consider the ways in which our testimonies for peace, equality, and simplicity interact to guide our relationships with all life.” When reflecting on my service this summer, and really every service opportunity I have participated in thus far, this quote by Quaker John Woolman (c. 1770) really stands out to me. As students, teachers, faculty members, and parents of Friends Seminary we enjoy certain privileges many do not and we often take them for granted. Volunteering is a manner in which we are able to give back to the community and it is our responsibility to do so. Woolman claimed that in order to be good stewards, we would have to examine the way in which our testimonies interact. When I volunteered this summer at the backpack drive, I realized I was making an impact on the lives of hundreds of children. Being more privileged than the kids I was packing backpacks for, I knew that I was upholding the Quaker ideals of equality and simplicity. Providing kids with school supplies so that they may learn, thrive, and grow in “God’s world” is how I was able to nurture my “relationship with all life” this Summer. Understanding my service from this Quaker perspective showed me how unique of an experience it really was.