Martha’s Table

“Service is fun.”

By Delmar Tarrago

Background Information
Martha’s Table seeks to transform lives by engaging the community in developing sustainable solutions to poverty, and by meeting core needs of their clients with education, nutrition, clothing, and family support programs that prepare young people, from infancy through adulthood, for a promising future.

Our Experience and The Big Idea
Volunteering is not common for Japanese high school students, yet it is very much a part of this Tomodachi program.  This was interesting as throughout their time in the U.S., the importance of volunteering had come up time and time again.  At United Way we talked about how volunteering is a “two-way street,” that both the volunteer and those that receive the help benefit from the experience.  Up until our time at Martha’s Table I had wondered, do the Japanese students really understand this if they haven’t participated in any volunteering?  At Martha’s Table these concerns were put to rest as we helped prepare food for the organization.  Students chattered away as they chopped carrots and pineapples, giggled as their eyes watered up while cutting onions, and cracked jokes while preparing pieces of cake.  “This is so much fun!” one student exclaimed.  “Yup!” said another, “Service is fun.”