Photo Courtesy of Justin Tam
For many students, volunteering is a way to build an impressive college application, but for members of Food for the Poor Club, giving back to the community is a profound and personal experience that has changed the way they view helping others. The club meets every other Wednesday in Room 755 to discuss future events and brainstorm ways to fundraise and gain attention for the cause.
Food for the Poor (FFTP) is a worldwide non-profit organization whose mission is to provide humanitarian aid for developing countries. According to the website, it raises money to remediate issues including malnutrition, homelessness, unsafe drinking water and lack of medical care.
“It’s one thing to help your community, your Irvine community. It’s also another thing to help Third World countries like Jamaica,” club president and sophomore Justin Tam said. “We want to fundraise for a play structure, so we can give kids equal learning experiences.”
By 2020, club board members say they hope to take several dedicated members to Jamaica to aid the organization in its quest to build schools and houses. These projects would help provide citizens of developing countries with safe and comfortable living conditions.
“In Irvine, we are blessed to live here,” Tam said. “Other people don’t have the same opportunities as us, so it’s like, do you want to help them, or stay in our little bubble.”
By participating in local FFTP events, members gain valuable experiences by bringing joy into the lives of the poor and needy. The club not only raises money to help impoverished third world countries, but it also volunteers at local food pantries and homeless shelters.
“Recently we went to a free food pantry in Costa Mesa, and we were passing out food to the working poor, and it was just so nice to see people smiling, and smiling just brings joy to me and hopefully my other officers for Food for the Poor. I think we just had a good time helping others out,” Tam said.
Community service has also taught members of the club to be appreciative of the opportunities and privileges they have in Irvine.
“When you volunteer in Food for the Poor, you get to see what the less fortunate have to deal with on a daily basis and see how privileged we are, so we can be more grateful for what we have,” secretary and sophomore Garrett Lim said.