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The bonds of a volunteering community

Joy and lessons in getting things done are rewards of helping others.

This article was contributed by San Benito High School student Malia Chang with the BenitoLink Junior Journalism project.

I am 15 years old and have been raised in a community of volunteering. The first time I volunteered was when I was five years old, at Holte dinners hosted by Sacred Heart on Thanksgiving, where I served dinner rolls. It was amazing to see someone’s face light up when they were served a meal, and I wanted to continue to see that expression of joy in others. Since then, I have volunteered almost every year on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

As a student, I have been involved with volunteering at important events. While in elementary school, I volunteered in a preschool classroom. The Olive Festival is a popular event I would volunteer at with my mom and dad, teaching others how to make olive wreaths.

Nowadays I volunteer to protect our environment by going to beach cleanups and going to Snowy Plover Mud Stomps to help snowy plovers to create a nest for their eggs. The third Sunday of the month at Immaculate Conception Church in Tres Pinos, my family and I serve donuts and coffee.

Another event I volunteer for is the Immaculate Conception Church barbecue.

The parish held its 80th annual barbecue on Oct. 21. My family and I have been fortunate enough to participate in organizing the raffle drawing for the past two years. We make sure that tickets for the drawing are sent out to each member of the parish and contact local businesses for prize donations and contributions. Volunteering for the church barbecue allows me to appreciate all the behind-the-scenes work that is required to create an incredible fundraising event.

I see the dedication put into the barbecue and how important this event is to parishioners. Those who make the food get up extremely early to start the fire to cook chicken. Days in advance, parishioners make the pasta sauce and salad dressing. From listening to the discussion in meetings every week for a few months, I learn about the time and effort put into choosing what games will be available to the children, arrangements for parking, what will be served at the barbecue, and the serving size for each menu item.

When the day of the barbecue comes, all the volunteers are running around ensuring everything is perfect. At the end of the day, everyone leaves with smile on their faces, appreciating the great job everyone did. The fundraiser will continue with the participation of members of Tres Pinos Immaculate Conception Church, who put so much effort and love into this work.



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Malia Chang (mc_02)

Malia Chang is a junior writer at San Benito High School.

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