Madeline's Report

Veteran’s Village Volunteer
“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”  Audrey Hepburn expressed this thought about giving and it illustrates the duty we have to use our abilities to help others and even inspires other women to look past the beauty in Audrey Hepburn’s face and through to her compassion.  Through this class I have witnessed that it does not take much effort to help others in the community. And it is something that anyone can do-even college freshman. If you do not have a lot of cash, you can donate time. From cooking the dinners to getting little gifts and groceries, all the energy and resources is paid back to you by a smile or sig of relief on someone else’s face.
 I feel that sometimes I do forget how much I have in the way of security and peace of mind. I know that while I have food on the table and a roof over my head, it does not take much to change someone’s circumstances. An illness, a job loss, a break-up or just a streak of bad luck can put a person in need of a helping hand. Or, sometimes the unfair policies and discrimination leave some people with much less than others. In the case of the veterans, America says they honor veterans, but I think they mean the idea of veterans or veterans as a group. Veterans are actually individuals who each have their own needs. They have varied amounts of education and the skills they learned are subject to the same possibility that of becoming obsolete as a civilian.
 I have always loved helping out others. Every year I look forward to the Marines Toys for Tots toy drive. When I was young, my mother taught me to pick out the toy that I would want to play with, because you should treat others as good as you treat yourself. Since we moved to Tallahassee, I have enjoyed “adopting” a girl for Christamas from the Leon County PACE program. Because I am older now, I can think past just toys and consider the lives of the girls who give me their wish list.  I always have so much fun shopping or these girls and finding things that I would have loved when I was sixteen. It sounds easy for me to say that I love buying them gifts, but I truly have learned a lot from the experience.  The girl that I had last year wrote me a sweet card afterwards stating that she was so grateful for everything that she received because it was all she had for Christmas. It was very similar shopping for the veteran’s groceries and Christmas presents. I learned to consider things like how much space a veteran might have to store food, the utensils they might lack. I tried to anticipate what might help them survive between payments, but also tried to think about little things that might help them thrive. Does my veteran’s grocery bag go to a person without a car-maybe they need portable snacks to feed them at the bus stop. Does my veteran like to spend time with friends, maybe they would enjoy to share lunch with their neighbor at the spur of the moment with two cans of chili and mac-n-cheese, or an assortment of salty snacks for watching the FSU game. Sharing their own food with their friends is a way for them to get an extra smile.

 I was blessed with two charitable parents that are always willing to go above and beyond to makes others happy. I feel that I have been given so much in my life and know that others have not. So doing anything I can to help or even make someone smile is worth a lot to me. When I heard what we would be doing in this class, I knew I would be shopping for groceries and presents-I feel like that is something I have to offer-in the way of thoughtfulness and the ability to access the funds to pay for it through my parents. I put a lot of thought into the food I picked out. I tried to pick things that I would want to eat and things that would be easy to store and make for them. I had so much fun doing it, that I decided to sign up for the Christmas presents for the veterans. I enjoyed knowing that these gifts would make them feel special and tried to pick out things I would want and tried to pick gift cards to places near them. I am excited to branch out from just shopping for others and actually meeting them at the Christmas Eve party. This is going to be new for me, but I already know that after meeting the veterans, next semester shopping for them is going to be a whole new ball game.