I stumbled across this opportunity during my community rotation with Penn State Cooperative Extension as part of my dietetic internship. One of the objectives of this rotation was to allow us the opportunity to get involved in the community. My Cooperative Extension rotation was based out of Gettysburg (Adams County, PA).
I didn’t realize the number of hungry people in the Gettysburg area. I also volunteered a few hours at the Gettysburg area Food Pantry and learned they serve over 1500 families every month. I helped put together bags of groceries at the Food Pantry and I found it to be a rewarding experience. It also reminded me of how thankful I am for all I have and how I’ve never had to go to bed hungry or wonder where my next meal is coming from.
The soup kitchen was another experience that made me count my blessings. Some of the individuals served at the soup kitchen were homeless while others were just down on their luck. It was rewarding just to help. I do think some of the individuals took advantage of the situation, but others were truly appreciative of what we provided them. It was evident the woman in charge genuinely cared for all the individuals and did whatever she could to help them.
It was a great experience to give back — and a good reminder of how much I have to be thankful for. If you’re interested in giving back, check out the opportunities in your community. Volunteers are always needed and much appreciated!