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With the start of the Eureka! summer camp just a week away, my group and I decided to make an even stronger impact on our community by volunteering at Project Hope Alliance.

Project Hope Alliance is an Orange County non-profit organization dedicated to ending the cycle of homelessness, one child at a time. Thus, my cohort and I worked at their food pantry–sorting expired foods from up-to-date ones, labeling foods with their expiration dates, and re-shelving canned goods. Despite my love for volunteerism and aiding those in need, I could not help but question why we were planning to volunteer in one of the riches counties in the United States in the days leading up to our service.

According to Data USA, Orange County, CA is the 3rd most populated county in California with a median household income of $81,837. This data affirmed my apprehension until I recently learned that Orange County has a large homeless population. If not sleeping on the streets or in cars, the homeless set tents along the Santa Ana Riverbed. Apparently, the homeless population in Orange County grew by 5% in the past two years. One could ask himself, How can such an affluent area such as Orange County have such a deep-rooted issue of homelessness?

With my knowledge of the current issues in Orange County – rising rents and homelessness – I genuinely felt proud to make a difference at Project Hope Alliance as it will benefit those in need. With this knowledge, I am going into this upcoming week ready for the Eureka! summer camp to challenge myself and ultimately change my world.