Serve Others, Gain Smiles

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Distributing food to a shopping cart, delivering them to the client’s car, chatting with them, helping them move all of their food in to the car and saying “have a nice day.”

It was easy steps when we served in St. Mary’s Food Bank on the afternoon of Sep. 25, but it was also our Humphrey Cohort’s first community volunteering opportunity.

We got there at about 2 PM, and after a brief introduction, we started serving. At the beginning, there was another group distributing different kinds of food for us, we just needed to deliver the shopping cart to our clients’ vehicles and help them load the food.

I understood that some of our clients came from vulnerable groups. They can get free food here for their livelihood, I wondered if that food could bring them happiness?

Once I got a huge birthday cake in my shopping car, and I thought who would be the lucky guy? Soon, an old couple became my client. When the old man saw my car at his first sight, he discovered the cake and said with a big smile “Wow, it’s a cake, my kids should be so happy.” In that moment, I felt so warm, because my job would give a family so much smiles. I talked with the couple and I knew their granddaughter lived with them and the cake was one of her favorite foods. I helped them move the cake into their car very carefully because I was afraid that I would accidentally drop it. Fortunately, everything went very well and the couple thanked me very much.

Terry Cui and Mónica Rivero loading food into a shopping cart at St. Mary’s Food Bank.

I found a warm moment and a lot of smiles when I served the clients, and another fellow Mónica Rivero, from Cuba, told me she had some different experiences. “For me it was nice to speak Spanish to some of them. I think it has a proximity effect,” she said. She also felt good because there were some young boys volunteering at St. Mary’s Food Bank. She also admired how everyone made sure that it’s a dignified process.

Even though there are some social problems in the U.S., like homeless or poor communities, there are still some people and organizations here to help them. I also think that the way of St. Mary’s Food Bank could also be used in my country. 

It was such a great day and Humphrey Cohort did a great job!

Ha Thi Thu Tran, Aung Soe and Dr. Bill “produce”-ing smiles during their volunteering opportunity.