Q: Why did the criminal justice students decide on a community service project during the holidays?
A: We usually have a Secret Santa exchange among our class, but this year we decided to give someone else something. We were trying to figure out what would be the best way to help someone, and we thought about providing Thanksgiving dinner for a family.
None of us had ever done anything like this before on our own, and it was overwhelming at first. I checked out five different organizations and found a program at Southbrook Christian Church (in Miamisburg) that seemed like it fit what we were thinking.
Q: What is the focus of your outreach?
A: Our class adopted a family, a single mother and six children, who was in need of some holiday assistance. As we began collecting items for Thanksgiving dinner, we just kept adding more until it became a week of groceries, and a plan to provide Christmas dinner and some presents for the children in December. We wrote a letter to the mother, and all signed it, wishing her a happy Thanksgiving and hoping that their donations helped her and her family.
Q: How does it feel to help a family this holiday season?
A: We didn't expect this to be so big, but it feels good to help others, and everyone in the class supported the idea.
We have a few people in our class who also struggle with money at home, and the first step was to find out who was on board. All were. We knew that some couldn’t give as much as others, and we said just bring in one thing, because everything counts and helps. It was very overwhelming to me that they don’t have much but they are still so willing to give anyway. We all did it. This was different than anything else we have done. We were all in, and we were all very happy with ourselves. We didn’t expect to get any recognition, we just wanted to help someone. It means a lot to our class to do this.
Q: Why do you think it is important to give back in this way?
A: It felt like we always get stuff, presents, and big dinners, and others don't always get that. We decided that we could help. It seemed like the right thing to do.
Q: What lessons have you learned by participating in this project?
A: We have definitely learned that we have a lot of food that we buy and waste, and overall we are pretty selfish. We just keep buying more. When we say we have no food in the house, it really isn't true.
Probably the biggest lesson we learned is that some people really don’t have food in their cabinets and refrigerators; and I do, but I just don’t want to make macaroni, for example. We all need to continue to help others.