By: Brenda Elizalde
On January 26, 2017, Oakland High’s Latinos Unidos headed down to the Alameda County Food Bank to help out by packing fruit for families who would receive it later on in the day.
According to the Alameda County Food Bank, 1 in 6 Alameda County residents visits at least one of the Food Bank’s 275 soup kitchens, food pantries, after-school programs, senior centers, shelters or other community agencies annually. Within those families, 1 in 3 children go hungry due to their parents not having enough money to buy food for the entire family.
Once there, Latinos Unidos went in work mode. They were split up into groups and straight away were put to work packing oranges and apples into bags. They worked for at least eight hours. During that time, the students were able to talk amongst each other about the goals they had in life and how they were feeling about packing the food for families in need.
“Packing the food was emotional for me because I been through times where my family and I didn’t have food,” said senior Maribel Vargas. “I remember going to places where they hand out food.”
Senior Kiara Munguia said, “I feel really happy helping out people because knowing that I’m making a difference just by talking to them and listening to what they have to say.” She also said going to help out at the Alameda Food Bank “ is a chance to connect with people in a positive way showing them not everyone is a bad person. Especially our generation.”
During one of the breaks, the volunteers were brought into a room to watch a video. The video showed food being distributed to various places.The most emotional thing about the video was seeing children’s faces and hearing about how hungry they were once they got home. The children said they worried about what they were going to eat during the weekends, but were happy knowing that the Alameda County Food Bank was there to help.
“I was impacted with the fact that 25% of homeless people receive food support,” said senior Eduardo Falcon.
Jose Espinoza, club sponsor and foreign language teacher, said “Everyone can contribute to help someone in need.” Espinoza also believes that “by exposing our youth to a number of positive situations, they can start seeing themselves as an instrument of change and start being part of the solution to any problem” and “the earlier we understand that we can make a difference by looking outside of ourselves by helping others, the greater the possibility to improve our world community.”