By: Cat Grizzle | Contributing Writer
In the grand scheme of things, no one person will ever know the exact impact they could have on another person’s life. We walk through our daily routines and expect to have a less than significant impact on the lives of the strangers around us.
But imagine, the short conversation you had with that waitress might have convinced her not to quit her job. Taking the time to thank the bus driver made them smile and go home feeling validated and seen. Performing simple actions like these with kindness and patience can not only affect the relationships with the people around us, but also the relationship with ourselves.
Growing up middle class has given me a privilege that has only been brought to my attention within the last four years. College has always been an option for me. I have never had to wonder where my next meal will come from or what I would do if my favorite pair of shoes fell apart.
Because I have such easy access to necessary resources, it is crucial that I share what I can with those who are not as fortunate. Giving to charity is a value that was instilled in me from a very young age. Growing up in a religious school system, there was always a fundraiser or volunteer opportunity. As I have gotten older I have been able to see that it was not only giving to charity but in fact, giving to humanity.
I have spent many weekends making trips to thrift stores searching for the comfiest sweater or funkiest corduroy pants for the lowest price. I have also spent those weekends loading up my car with old furniture, clothes and childhood toys that are no longer used and can be donated to a home where they can serve a new purpose.
Once I dropped them off, rarely ever would I think about the items after. I will never be able to see the comforter from my childhood bedroom on top of the bed of the child who “adopted” it, but I know that they will be warm at night. I will never be able to see the young girl proudly wearing my favorite dress from eighth grade on picture day, but I know that she looks fabulous. I will never be able to see exactly what impact the things I donate will have, but I know that they will be given a new purpose.
This silent impact is why I encourage you to think about what recourses you can donate to your community. That’s not to say you should turn your home into a soup kitchen or take to the streets with clean clothes and food for the homeless. While those are amazing things to be able to do, the reality is that not everyone can give such a high amount of time or energy. If all you can give is a smile to the person in the elevator, you should give it. If all you can give is your old bed frame with the chipped paint, you should give it. And if all you can give is a career focused on making necessary resources more available in your community, you should give it.
Jag Pantry has partnered with 97.1 the Prowl for their biannual fundraiser Prowlfest on Nov. 16 where they will be hosting a live music and poetry event at Satori Coffee House. The event will be free entry with a donation of canned goods, granola bars, case of bottled water, etc. All donated items will be given back to the Jag Pantry. This is an easy and fun opportunity for college kids to be able to give back to their community on campus.
I was able to sit down with Jordan Smith and Bradley Harris, some of the representatives of Jag Pantry back in October and got some more information on their mission.
Donor to Diner is a student organization that aids and advocates for hungry students on multiple college campuses across the South East. Jag Pantry is a branch of Donor to Diner located on South Alabama’s campus that provides a food pantry service for USA students. The exact location of the pantry is kept private to protect student confidentiality, but students can email Donor to Diner and receive instructions on how to access the pantry.
Smith explained that privacy is an important part of their mission.
“We don’t want any student to feel like a burden or embarrassed. Everybody has a need.”
Surveys given by South’s chapter of Donor to Diner show that almost 57% of on-campus students experience food insecurity. Students that would like to utilize the pantry are encouraged to take as much food as they may need, and their privacy is kept safe by having specific hours for volunteers and different scheduled times for students who utilize the pantry. If you are interested in contacting Jag Pantry they can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.