Lenten Service Project

The three of pillars of lent are prayers, fasting, and almsgiving (service). As Sunday school kids it is easy for us to participate in the extra Lenten prayers and decide what we would like to give up in our diet, but it can sometimes be difficult to find a service project where we are helping out those in need. This year’s Lenten service project for Sunday school kids in grades 7-10 was a trip to the Houston Food Bank.

It had been a while since my last visit to the Houston Food Bank. When we first entered, there was an enormous number of people from all different ages, races, and spiritual backgrounds. My first thought was that we would not have any real work to do since there were so many people there to help out. During the quick orientation they gave us, we learned that more than 55,000 kids in Houston don’t have anything to eat when they wake up or when they get home from school. Usually their only meal is the free lunch provided at school. That was shocking for me to hear, since the first thing I do after coming home is go to the pantry or fridge for a snack. There are even days where I have several snacks before sitting down to dinner!

Our group’s assignment was called the Backpack Buddy project. We were taken into a large warehouse area with 4 groups of long tables. We were arranged into assembly lines and our task was to pack food parcels filled with different canned food items, cereals, and small snacks. There were about 200 people arranged into the four groups and by the end of our 4-hour visit, we had made about 10,100 parcels to be given to children over Spring Break.

I learned a few things through this service project. First, there is no such thing as too many volunteers or not enough work. About 40 of us went to the Food Bank. It takes about 600 volunteers to complete the different projects at the Food Bank and there are still thousands of kids who will not receive anything to eat over Spring Break. Second, we should not take the blessings that we have received for granted. Food is one of the most basic human needs and it is so sad that this many kids are going hungry. Giving up meat or sweets seems like such a small thing compared to the hunger that some kids face every day. Third, we can all be a little less selfish of our time. I was disappointed that I had to wake up early on the weekend and skip my usual activities to volunteer at the Food Bank, but it was only 4 hours of my time to make sure someone else could eat for a whole week. That’s really not so bad.

I am very happy that I was able to take part in the service project. Through this opportunity I was not only able to serve others, but also serve Christ through hard work and dedication. This will be a daily reminder to me of all my blessings, and how I can be a blessing to others.

Anjali Kurian - 9th grade

Photo credits: Nelson John & Sheena Mani