Right before I left to come back to America I got the chance to volunteer my time at a food bank in Cork called Cork Penny Dinners. I had been trying for weeks to get in to help, but with them moving locations and the holiday season coming up it got a little difficult. Luckily, my time came and it was the most amazing experience for me. Cork Penny Dinners was founded around the time of the Famine and started as a soup kitchen. They have one goal and that is to give a hot meal to anyone who needs one. On their website it states that, “We never judge, we serve.” It is very clear that they are there to help those in need and are open to anyone that needs a little help. When I arrived at Cork Penny Dinners, I was shocked to see how many people were there. Not only was the amount of people shocking, but also the people that were in there was shocking. I saw a few families with children and it really made me sad to think that these kids have to go through that. It made me appreciate my life even more and understand that not everyone is as fortunate. It truly was an eye opening experience.
Volunteering in general is such a great thing to do, but it is an even better experience while abroad because you can feel like you are giving back to a place that has given you so much. It is so important to be part of the Global Community and give back to the world. Community service has so many benefits, one of which is that it is completely free and can mean so much to the people you are helping. The fact of the matter is that we (study abroad students) come into these countries and are clearly so fortunate to even have that opportunity. Taking a couple hours to help some less fortunate people out is the least we can do. And also, it makes you feel so good inside that you could help some strangers out. For most, you can even make their day by just telling a joke or too as well. From this experience I had at Cork Penny Dinners, I will think more about giving back and helping the less fortunate. It is important to understand that some people were just dealt a bad hand in life, and they just need some extra help. This experience has impacted my life because I now can understand the importance of giving back and how much these people appreciate it. One man I was talking to while I was there could not thank me enough for giving my time and he was upset because he could not give me anything in return. I reassured him that I was doing this for myself and he did not need to give me anything. It was so special just to be there helping out in Ireland.
The picture I chose is of a group of girls with volunteer shirt on looking like they are enjoying themselves. Volunteering can be so much fun if you go with your friends or even if you just have the right attitude about it. There are so many places in the world that need some help and all it takes is a little time.images.jpeg A quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. states that, “Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.” That is the best part about volunteering. It takes no special skills and doesn’t cost any money. All around the world places are looking for people to help out and after helping out at Cork Penny Dinners I will most certainly look for places around where I live. This day of service was a special day that I will never forget!