Tag: health

My Volunteering Experience

My Volunteering Experience

I was very grateful for the volunteer opportunity which was provided by Service Learning Project. This is my first experience to serve the community as a volunteer. Since I had no experience in serving as a volunteer in the United States, I had hesitated to apply for a chance in agencies that participate in community services.  The project provided an opportunity for me to take a step forward in serving communities as my first volunteering experience. This opportunity also became a significant experience to participate in a discourse community which consists of people filled with humanity. It provided some set of goals of helping people who are disadvantaged. I had a valuable opportunity to learn about the community services through the beneficial communications with the discourse community.

In this project, I had a chance to apply as a volunteer with Loaves & Fishes Family, Kitchen(L&F) which is a local nonprofit organization in San Jose. The reason I decided to apply in this agency was because my friend strongly recommended it to me. She had an experience of serving as a volunteer in this agency and I received an excellent feedback from her. L& F is founded on trust that it is an established organization with a solid foundation to contribute to the community. Furthermore, I researched about the agency and found out that it was founded more than 35 years ago which enhances its credibility.  L & F provides approximately 2000 meals a week at three different locations. It provides these meals to low-income families, single women, and the homeless people. Our supervisor, Ms. Hyru Gau, a volunteer Manager of L & F, argues that a third of the households in Santa Clara county are low-income. These people don’t have enough income to meet basic needs such as food. L & F is willing to provide nutritious and hot meals at no cost to these disadvantaged households.

My first volunteering duty at L & F was to distribute groceries to the low-income families. L & F collaborates with many other local non-profits agencies from Bay area. This program is called Grocery Bag Program and takes place at St. Maria Goretti church. It is held on every third Wednesday of the month at the church which is located on Senter Road in San Jose.  Approximately 30 volunteers gathered at 8:00 am in a hall next to the church. Ms. Hyru Gau and the other people in charge of this program assigned different jobs to the volunteers. We started by carrying the tables for setting up the hall for the food preparation under instructions from the supervisor. The regular volunteers were very friendly and willing to help the new ones. Many boxes were carried and placed at the center of the hall. Each box came stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables such as potatoes, onions, broccolis, carrots, pears and oranges. L & F receives groceries and fruits from retailers, local growers, the Second Harvest Food Bank, and the other variety of other sources. Alongside other volunteers, we started to empty the boxes and arranged them according to the types of food on the tables. We started putting the fruits and vegetables in the plastic bags in equal proportions. We provided more than 200 bags of food and moved on to the next tasks. We then received other boxes with packets of milk, eggs, yogurts, tortillas, and various kinds of bread.  We organized everything on the tables for distribution upon peoples’ arrival.

The people had to obtain a ticket before receiving food. The distribution was supposed to be divided into four phases in two hours. People who need this service are mostly mothers and their children, and a few homeless people. On the first day of volunteering, almost all the food we set up was distributed in a very organized manner. Some few snack boxes were left to give the children an extra treat. The only thing I was disappointed in was some moldy loaves of bread I found in the boxes and some sliced bread squished pretty badly in the boxes. These people deserve fresh bread even if it is for free

My second volunteering service was the same service at St. Maria Goretti. I continuously applied to the same program since I could work comfortably with the regular volunteers. Compared to the previous time, there were fewer students participating this time as volunteers and most participants were adults. With the other volunteers, we started by carrying and opening the boxes with vegetables and fruits. Since the number of volunteers was less than the previous time, it took a little more time to set up all the food bags for distribution. The supervisor, Ms. Hyru Gau, asked me to check the quality of bread as I had done before. Unfortunately, I found some moldy bread but the quality was much better than the other time. The number of people who came to receive the food was also a little less than the previous time.

I chose to volunteer at Goodwill Industries for my third opportunity. This program is also associated with L & F. Goodwill Industries target homeless people, low-income families, and single women. We took a couple hours to prepare food and served the meals for one hour. This time my task was cooking and I helped the other volunteers to make the salad. The meal consisted of five different items which included, spaghetti meat sauce, mixed salad, fresh cut fruits, vegetable soup, and various kinds of bread. We served the meals to more than 50 people who were mostly homeless and from low-income families. While serving the meals, I realized that approximately one in five people refused to eat salad and fruits. Although vegetables and fruits are important foods which provide essential nutrients, they preferred more carbohydrates.

My last service as a volunteer was at Catholic Charities Eastside Neighborhood Center. This is one of the locations that L & F provides meals to people from Monday to Friday. More than 50 people came to the church and were provided with nutritious meals. There were eight volunteers joining this program and I was very glad to see the supervisor, Ms. Hyru again as she works at this church daily. I helped to chop various kinds of vegetables for making a mixed salad. We also prepared many roasted chickens which were very delicious. There were two children, a brother, and a sister, coming to have a dinner with their parents. Both of them were overweight which made me get concerned about obesity. Their parents should be made aware of the dangers the children face. After the dinner, lunch bags were distributed containing a half sandwich, snacks, and some stick vegetables. Such kind of service is very helpful to the people, and I deeply admire Ms. Hyru’s selflessness. I was glad to be a part of the volunteering service.

In conclusion, I learned how difficult it is to educate people on the significance of food and nutrition as a volunteer. Obviously, there are many people who are in food insecure. Considering this situation, I believe that people need to be provided with opportunities to have education as well as providing food. The Service Learning Project provided for me an opportunity which made me feel very satisfied to volunteer to serve our communities. I gained much experience and importance of volunteering by serving at L & F. The biggest benefit I obtained from volunteering was an accomplishment of meaningful tasks that not only helped other people’s lives but also a significant opportunity to advance my career, and in all areas of my life

Diet for Life

Diet for Life

My daily meal plan is simple but somewhat nutritious (in my opinion). Like diet. For breakfast, I have two slices of toast, scrambled eggs, and a cup of coffee. I cannot go without breakfast as it is the meal that kick starts my day, and it determines how enthusiastic the day will be. Most of the time, I skip lunch. However, when I get the chance to eat, I take rice with some vegetables such as broccoli. I have the lightest meal during dinner time. It comprises of a vegetable salad and fruits. Throughout the day, I take lots of water. I can drink between eight to ten glasses of water religiously. I rarely eat meat.

Comparison between the Articles

The article ‘Escape from the Western Diet’ by Michael Pollan is on nutrition. In the article, Pollan mentions that the use of food science in discovering the problem with the Western diet in inevitable. Science offers the best explanations, but they should not be taken as the whole truth (Pollan 420). One need not belong to an individual school of thought so as to figure out how best to eat. The article points out that people eating a western diet are more prone to diseases and illnesses compared to those that embrace more traditional foods. For that reason, individuals should stop eating a western diet.

Michael Pollan insists that the theories of nutrition are meant to satisfy one’s curiosity about how things work (Pollan 422). These theories are of no benefit to the eater, the medical society, or the food industry. The problem with the food industry is that they capitalize on these scientific theories to go forth and introduce a new line of products into the market. These new products are just but modifications of the Western diet that eaters are so desperately trying to avoid. Not much radical changes are made on food; instead, the problem of processed foods is fuelled even further.

Michael is adamant that society can plot its way out of the Western diet hence his collection of unscientific rules that are meant to steer people to the right direction. One of his rules encourages people to eat food in small quantities. He acknowledges the fact that the environment is the beginning of individuals’ bodily health.  He writes that food should not be defined by the chemical composition alone. Ecological and social relationships should also be considered.

‘What Are You Buying When You Buy Organic’ written by Steven Shapin is an article that demystifies theories surrounding organic foods. It aims at explaining the origin and nutritional implications of these foods. The author emphasizes that people who sell organic food are also out to make profits. It is, therefore, not right to think of small, family-owned, local operations at the mention of organic foods (Shapin 429). Steven says that most people go for natural, thinking that they are alleviating environmental pollution. He describes, through Earthbound that it may be the case because the producers struggle to use environmentally friendly fuels such as biodiesel.

Environmental friendliness is at the heart of organic food production. It is for this reason that their food is safer for human consumption than any other. For instance, organic farmers do not use pesticides on their farms. The result is a salad free of pesticide residues, and this is the beginning of healthy eating. Additionally, it is easier to access fresh organic produce as opposed to processed foods and with freshness comes taste.

The article acknowledges the fact that Indian farming techniques were at some point superior to those of the West (Shapin 434). The health of the soil was the determinant of the health of the consumers. It is this discovery that led to the organic farming revolution. Individuals are encouraged to know the source of what they put in their mouth as this constitutes healthy living.

All in all, these two articles complement each other. Both authors agree that the West feeding culture is detrimental to people’s health. Additionally, they both agree that the environment should be considered in food production. It is the road to leading a healthy life if well preserved. One cannot expect to feed the soil with harmful chemicals and from it, obtain healthy and nutritious carrots.

Personal Experience

Once upon a time, I needed eggs for breakfast. Since I had an early day, I could not wait for a nearby organic store to open. On any other day, I would not buy eggs from anywhere else but this organic store. On that particular day, I had no option but to get them from another warehouse. I beat two eggs to prepare my omelet. When I started frying the eggs, I was shocked at how puffed up they became. I had to confirm that I had beaten two and not four eggs.  I could not eat that meal. To date, I am still not sure why two eggs would swell up so that they looked like they were more than that.

Conclusion

The issue of healthy eating is a communal responsibility. What people eat is likely to determine the kind of individuals that they are. It is important to conserve our environment. It is true that people cannot go back to ancestral ways of life, but it is possible to borrow a leaf. Poor eating habits affect everybody. When an individual becomes a victim of the chronic disease and loses their life, society is affected in one way or the other. A healthy eating nation is a prosperous one.