This year, on April 28th, all of Friends Seminary’s Upper School participated in its annual service day, where each grade takes a break from classes and instead engages in various acts of service around New York. Last year, I found the day to be somewhat hectic, with a long drive into upstate New York and not much work actually being done; however, this year, I believed that the 11th grade’s day of service was well thought out, active, and rewarding. My day started bright and early at 8:00, all juniors meeting in the cafeteria, preparing for the day ahead. The grade was split up and assigned to different projects across the city so that we all would not be working in one filled area because after all, New York City is a pretty cramped place. My advisory had been assigned to work with the New York Common Pantry, an organization that works toward the reduction of hunger and food insecurity through a variety of different programs, which include fresh food pantry packages, hot meals, working with the homeless and providing them with food, and many other much needed programs. We traveled up to 109th St. to the headquarters of this organization, ready to participate in any way that we could. After a friendly greeting from the other workers that were in charge, we were escorted down to the warehouse, where a large amount of food had been packaged or ready to be distributed out to those who needed it. The space had a great atmosphere, with cheerful classic R&B music playing in the background, which in my opinion, helped make any sort of manual labor not tiring at all. We were ready to start our work! Our work consisted of organizing the food that had been donated and making it much easier to be distributed for the day ahead. The Common Pantry had received a wide range of food. I recall carrying pasta, gnocchi, beans, potatoes, fruits, vegetables, and much more! We worked for about two hours and everyone was in high spirits. Usually when someone wants me to do any sort of physical chore, I have a good excuse at hand; however, my peers and I all seemed happy to work because of the work we were doing and also because of the great atmosphere that the New York Common Pantry had created. After our hard work, we returned back to school, where we were welcomed by the school’s Pop-up cafe situated in the outer courtyard. I had a killer snow cone. After lunch, we all gathered in the meetinghouse to watch the documentary, A Place at the Table, which told the story of hunger in America. We sadly learned that 50 Million Americans—1 in 4 children—don’t know where their next meal is coming from, discovering all of these harsh facts through many powerful stories of different Americans’ experiences with hunger. This movie helped me really grasp how important organizations like the New York Common Pantry actually are. These organizations tirelessly combat hunger in America and work every day to provide for those who really need a good meal. In conclusion, my service day was a truly memorable day and a very successful day of service, with both service that was supposed to aid those in hunger and also a vivid story that helped me see how important our work actually was. I look forward to service day next year.
New York Common Pantry: http://www.nycommonpantry.org/index.html