Volunteering at the food bank made me quite emotional.
I was helping out with registration overall, but I mainly focused on helping Spanish-speakers. For the most part, the experience was rewarding. I was able to interact with someone who had recently arrived to the United States, and he was happy. Even though he didn’t have much here, he had more than he ever had. I was able to talk to someone my age who helps her parents with logistical things they might not understand. I was able to help a single-mom with her child, and this interaction really touched my heart.
Unlike the other interactions, I did not reach out to her nor she reached out to me. I was told by one of my peers to help them out. She had some detailed questions about the registration form and how it might affect her citizenship status. Without going into much detail, for privacy reasons, I was able to gather that she was undocumented. She was an undocumented, single-mother of a child who was no older than 5. He was sitting down having some fruit while she waited in line with another 200 families, waiting to here “next 10” to go pick out some food.
Fortunately, the food bank does not share any of the information with the government. However, she was still so hesitant. And how could she not? If something happened to her, from what it seemed, her child would be alone. And even if they did have other family members, a child should not be separated from her mother. After thinking about this for some time, I found myself sad. I just kept thinking to myself how there’s this program that is meant to provide a food safety net, and there are some families who are too scared to use it. They are too scared that this could be a tactic from President Trump to gather the addresses of undocumented immigrants. I saw it as a clash between science and immigration policy, and it sucked.
The feeling got worse. It got worse when I realized she was around the same age as my mother. It made me think about the struggles my family had to face, and how the Latino community is perceived by society today. And while I try to look at the bright side of things, recent events have not made me feel any better. I’m not too sure whether this blog post has a conclusion. I have many things I want to say, but I am not sure how to say them. In fact, I wrote this post the same day we volunteered, but I kept going back to edit it. I don’t know if I did a good job at explaining myself or my experience, but I do know that I want to continue volunteering in food banks while at school.
The immigrant population in Durham keeps increasing, and there could be some families who need food but are scared because of their immigration status. Personally, the thought of that fills me with rage and sadness. I want to be able to use these emotions and, hopefully, help out children who might not have enough food at home. No one, no matter your immigration status or personal beliefs, should be starving.