My Family Pantry Is The Most Rewarding Of My College Experiences
Dear MY Project USA Family,
My name is Farida Eid. I am currently the director of MY Project USA's food pantry as well as a student at Ohio State studying neuroscience and international studies and am a research assistant at the college of medicine. Along with my involvement in My Project USA, I am involved in the Columbus Free Clinic, am treasurer of Muslim Students Association, and Outreach chair of Arab Student Union at the University. However, I would like to share my experience at My Family Pantry, one of the most rewarding of my college experiences.
I vividly remember the first time I volunteered at the pantry. My friend had been volunteering for a couple of months and she wanted me to go with her for just the one Saturday. Little did I know that two years later the pantry and MY Project USA would become instrumental parts of my life. That first day I remember walking in and starting to bag food out of huge boxes and then watching as other volunteers hurriedly kept three small yellow carts moving from client to client. I will admit it was fast paced and a little bit overwhelming at first, but the feeling of community between clients and volunteers was extremely comforting for me. I knew that this was a place I felt at home surrounded by fellow Muslims and non Muslims who shared my values for selfless community service. I knew I wanted to come back.
For the next couple of months, we continued to come whenever we could, mainly to unload food on Thursday from the truck that would be brought by another college volunteer from the Mid-Ohio Food Bank. While this was more behind the scenes, I learned the tremendous work that can go into creating a successful pantry day. I also started to find myself within a group of people who would eventually become my committee and my best friends. As a group of consistent college volunteers emerged, a committee began to form. At first we didn’t know how exactly the structure would work or how we would grow. However, as we met more and began to grow each one of us grew as a leader and volunteer. Together we grew and raised money to make our process more efficient buying carts that would change the way our pantry operated, and to buy dry foods that would support a more well rounded nutritious menu.
As we continued to grow I felt that the pantry had caught a spark. Every week we had a consistent group of volunteers come. Student organizations from Ohio State began to participate along with adults that found us through volunteer match. The diversity in this volunteer group was heartwarming and in my opinion truly demonstrates the special nature of My family pantry. It truly is a family.
All this being said, by far the most rewarding aspect of My Family pantry for me has been what I have learned from the clients. The pantry taught me there is no such thing as language barrier. I don’t speak any Somali however I learned to make connections with our clients. This bond pushes me to work hard and understand our clients to the best of my ability whether that is knowing a client’s children before she mentions them, or noticing when a client is gone and to asking about her. I am not saying we are perfect, and as students we are always growing as leaders and volunteers. However, the project’s ability to give us a medium and space to make a difference and also grow has been a blessing.
As I move to the next stage of my life now I will never forget the association that I have with the project. The potential is endless and I truly believe that amazing things are on the horizons. All we sometimes need is a push from a friend to go volunteer for one day and we can become a part of a life changing organization. Which is truly what I believe My Project USA is.
We need to keep improving and growing though! For that I ask for your help. Come join the family whether as volunteer at pantry or with boy scouts and girl scouts. Help us work to our goals financially. Join us at our upcoming MY Project USA Annual Dinner & Awards 2019 on February 23rd and meet with the outstanding pantry team and other volunteers. You will be inspired and amazed at what you find.
Director, MY Family Pantry,
Member, Board of Directors, MY Project USA
Our Youth Continue To Serve The Neighbors In Cold Weather MY Family Pantry Served 756 Individuals Last Saturday
This week we served 142 families, which is our ultimate high in a while, especially considering that it's winter! It comes to no surprise that pantry was still able to go smoothly because our volunteers are AMAZING.
We also served 19 new families, something that stood out to us. Normally it's around 5-7, but it was 19 this week, also making us thrilled about the idea that our reach is expanding, even if it's this gradual.