Pay It Forward: 21st Annual Community Commitment

On Saturday, August 24th, 2019 I attended Pay It Forward’s 21st Annual Community Commitment, one of the largest single-day community service events held on a college campus. I also attended this event last year (see the first post on my page) where I write about my experiences as a volunteer at an animal shelter.

This year our group was assigned to a place called “Little Acorn Children’s Garden”, which is a natural, interactive children’s garden designed to teach health, happiness, and hope for a brighter future. Families can visit to learn, weed, and garden together, and most importantly this is a free service to families. Additionally, the organization that allowed us to volunteer here was the “Patches of Light”. Their mission is to assist families with critically and terminally ill children so that they can remain together during their hospitalizations and treatments. Their funding is used to pay for past-due mortgages, rent, and utilities. They provide phone cards, gas cards, grocery cards, and parking tokens. Many parents do not even have the comfort of knowing whether they can make it to the hospital on a daily basis. Patches of Light assists with emergencies such as auto repairs, housing for long-distance care, airline tickets, supporting families that stay at the Ronald McDonald House, extermination and/or purification items for bone-marrow patients’ homes and much more. They have assisted families throughout the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. They have also helped families from Africa, England, and Palestine.

What did our group do exactly to help? When we arrived at the scene, the whole garden looked pretty bad: There were weed and dead plants everywhere and as we learned most of the vegetables that grew in the garden got stolen. In no time, we transformed an abandoned-looking place into a nice-looking garden. We picked the rest of the ripe peppers, tomatoes, gourds, and eggplants and bagged them up. After that, we pulled all of the weeds out which just by itself made a huge difference. Another volunteer from a different group mowed the lawn, then we finally got rid of the dead plants finishing our job. Since we still had time to help with something, we emptied a barn, thoroughly cleaned it and reorganized it.

To be honest, I do not really like working in the garden, but it is always worth to help someone in need. Sadly, I do not think I will volunteer at this location again, since it is a 30-minute drive from campus, and I also do not have a car, which makes things more complicated.