Last week I was able to do my volunteering downtown at Cork’s Penny Dinners. This organization essentially started out as a soup kitchen during the great famine in the 1880s and is one of cork’s oldest organizations. Today is has tripled in the number of meals that it provided, handing out around 1000 meals per week to anyone who comes through the door. I was taken back by how small and outdated the facilities were when I arrived. Although after I learned that they will soon be moving to a new location with bigger space. When I went around lunchtime everyone was eating their sandwiches and I helped prepare and hand them out as well as some fruit to go. The people that I saw coming for the meals certainly didn’t fit the stereotype that I had in my head, and I was taken back by some of parent who came in with their children as well. It made me very grateful and blessed that I never had to go through this struggle as a kid, but it also made me more aware that this problem is still very relevant everywhere in the world and requires more attention. It reminds me that I need to continue to donate food.
Volunteering while abroad has numerous benefits. The first one is that it is a great way to meat locals and engages with local issues/groups. Further, it is a way that I can give back and show my appreciation to a country that has given me so much. The Irish people have been nothing but amazing since the first day that I have arrived here. Every stranger I have met has been so helpful and willing to give me directions, that I feel like I owe them all back something. Volunteering is also a good way to engage responsibility in the community. Our classes’ definition of global community focused on universal goal to achieve human rights. Volunteering certainly relates closely to human rights. Often times the goals of non-profit volunteer place, like Cork Penny dinners, is to provide equal human rights to all. In this case, it is to provide nourishment to those individuals for whatever reason may not be able to provide that for themselves and their families. Other human right groups like the ones we saw in the documentary “Half the Sky” focus on providing healthcare access to people in impoverished nations. Regardless the cause, volunteering for these groups is so important and beneficial to not only yourself but also more importantly the people who are in need.
The key thing that I have taken away from this service experience is to live my life with more humility. I need to take time out of my day to be thankful for all that has been given to me. Sometimes with schoolwork and other daily activities I loose sight of all that I have to be grateful for, and I forget that I’m lucky to have access to food and never have to worry about that. It also makes me more aware that I need to give back to others because I can. Which relates nicely to Dr. King’s quote, “ Everyone can be great, because every can serve.” I truly believe that this is a true and that more people need to realize how even doing small service projects can make a difference. The image I choose to include in this week’s log is below. I liked this image because I think it captured the essence of not only my message, but Dr. King’s message about volunteering; anyone can do it and everyone should do it! Regardless a person’s age, gender, or ethnicity they all have the opportunity and in my opinion, the duty to serve their community.