By Isabella Garcia-Ding

This blog post was authored by Isabella Garcia-Ding, a 10th-grade student at Roberto Clemente Community Academy who organized a Thanksgiving food giveaway for her school community.

img_6366The Give 3k Food Pantry and Turkey Give Away this November 17th was a success. My experience as a student organizing this food drive was unbelievable, because I was able to make a small idea turn into a charity event for Roberto Clemente Community Academy.

I started Give 3k as an assignment for P.E last year, but now it has grown and will hopefully keep growing, even after I graduate. With the help of my mother and Dr. Sorensen, the principal at Clemente, I was able to plan the event, creating awareness about how important it is to think about our community and what people have to go through. Dr. Sorensen was a big part of my success, allowing me to host this event at Clemente. She continues to be supportive towards my efforts and requests when it comes to the charity.

mvi_6335-00_21_52_00-still003I decided to get our first responders to help me with this event, including Chicago Fire Department Engines 30, 35, 43 and 57 and the Chicago Police Department Districts 12 and 14. I was able to put one or more boxes in their departments for them to collect food. They attended my event as sponsors, donors and volunteers.

In addition, I obtained more help in my school with Sergeant Lewis, Sergeant Cunningham, ROTC volunteers and all the other volunteers being an essential part of organizing this event. Alderman Joe Moreno sponsored and donated to this event and will work with me for my next event, which is going to be an Easter Drive in April. Principal Klee of Burr Elementary allowed me to have a donation box in his school to collect pantry items. My mother, Bridget Garcia, is my number one advocate, no matter what I ask of her, and was integral in helping me get commitments from the participating sponsors.

mvi_6335-00_26_43_17-still009When I saw the faces of these families in line grabbing their food, I realized I changed someone’s life in some way. With the help of everyone, we were able to give 80 families bags of food and 75 families turkeys for Thanksgiving. I learned that a small idea can turn into something big if you try. This experience opened up my eyes to something that will help me in life, which is to not take things for granted and enjoy what you have.