Another semester of distant and virtual learning left me struggling with a way to give back to my community. I feel like the word “struggle” has been used in everyone’s vocabulary more often than usual this year. I sure know that it has been used in mine more so than ever. I found myself constantly struggling with the idea of “distance” being implemented into so many aspects and activities in my life. I started to reflect on the idea of my struggle compared to the struggles people in my community. I reflected on ways that I could relieve the struggles of people in my community while maintaining a distance to keep everyone healthy. This is when I came up with the idea of “Service From a Distance!”
“Service From a Distance” to me means giving back to people in the community that does not require any means of risking health or safety. I focused on how I could relieve the struggles that the pandemic has brought to many families. Throughout the pandemic many individuals have lost jobs leaving them with a financial burden. “How will I be able to afford clothing for myself and family?” “How can I maintain a healthy household without the stability of a job?” With these questions becoming a constant thought for people, I decided that I would do my part to keep the community with access to clothing, household supplies, and any other necessities needed to provide for themselves and their families.
Every month during this semester, I went to a local Salvation Army, Goodwill, or thrift shop and donated items. I wanted to be able to provide families in the community with necessities, in hopes that one struggle in their lives could be relieved. Every month, I would go through my own clothing and house supplies that I no longer use and start filling up bins and bags to take as donations. I would reach out to friends and family members every month and ask them if they would be willing to collect items they no longer needed. I would then pick them up and add them to my donations! I took my collection of clothes, house supplies, shoes, etc to a different center every month. I chose to donate to different areas, rather than one, in hopes of reaching all areas of the community so that families could have access to items they needed without the burden of having to travel to different areas of the community that were out of their way.
The word “struggle” can have so many different meanings in one’s life. What may be a struggle for myself during the pandemic may not be the same for others. Going out into the community and donating in hopes of relieving a struggle for another family or individual is what “Service From a Distance” is all about. The pandemic has left us all “struggling” in many different ways, but I have learned over this past semester that what seems to be the smallest gesture of giving back can be the biggest relief for others. I now want to challenge everyone to reflect on their own struggles this year, as well as the struggles of others in the community, and find a way to relieve those struggles for someone, even from a distance! A gesture that may seem so small can truly go a long way!
Madison Powell | Class of 2022