Martha’s Table (Luke)

“Any person can bring happiness through volunteering”

 By Luke

Background Information
Martha’s Table is a non-profit organization that, along with other things, sets up markets of food which are given to the poor and destitute who need them. They have been running in DC since 1980 and have become an important force in the fight against hunger with the homeless population. These markets are done once a month. The one we went to was located in Columbia Heights, and was set up as a line of tables, each giving out a different food item, and the people who came through went in a single file line through every table.

Our Experience
We got to the Market and were immediately put to work. My job was to give out vegetables, between the choices of beets, potatoes, yams, corn, green beans, cucumber, onions, and occasionally tomatoes. Other people in our group had other jobs like handing out pasta or giving people their tickets which they need to get food. We got to chat with people who passed through, and had to clean up the auditorium at the end (which me and Noah made fun by pushing each other on carts). The job was rather easy and fulfilling, for every cucumber I handed out, I felt that I was making a difference.

The Big Idea
Any person can bring happiness through volunteering – that was our main idea. As mentioned earlier, I felt like I was making a difference and I don’t believe I was the only one with that feeling. I am not superstitious or religious, but I feel that good things you do for others come back to you later in life. Even if that is not true, the thought of helping someone is rewarding enough. We were there for three hours, two were dedicated to the food and one was for cleaning up, and for all those hours I never felt bored. That was surprising because the word “volunteer” usually has the connotation of being boring.

It wasn’t just handing out vegetables. We also got to chat with some of the people who were at the Market. I learned about a woman who came to the USA from South Africa when she was 8, and a man and his mother who came from El Salvador and asked me to practice my very broken Spanish with them after I told them my mother is Costa Rican. Everyone there had a story and learning about them helped me feel like I wasn’t just helping anonymously, like putting money in a charity box feels like. I could see the people I was helping. And everyone of them looked happy after finishing the line, which proves our big idea. Anyone can definitely bring happiness through volunteering.