Amidst the Debating, Media, and Politics....Acts of Kindness Inspire Us ALL!
From The Birmingham News:
Area students deliver food to elderly shut-ins
Sunday, April 17, 2005
CHARLES J. DEAN
News staff writer
Bananas from Guatemala. Oranges from California. Red apples from Washington. Large yellow onions from Texas. Big baking potatoes from, where else, Idaho.
All that, plus carrots and hand-drawn greeting cards arrived at the homes of hundreds of elderly residents Saturday courtesy of area high-schoolers and YouthServe, Inc., a nonprofit based in Avondale.
A little over a hundred students delivered 300 tall brown bags of fruits and veggies Saturday, mostly to elderly residents who, because of age or illness or both, can't get out of their homes.
Saturday's event was the second so-called Great Vegetable Run. It began informally a few years ago with high-schoolers delivering just 60 bags of fruits and vegetables to mostly shut-ins, said Megann Bates, program director for YouthServe. Bates said efforts like the Great Vegetable Run not only help to provide a little food to people who need it but also provide young people with a valuable opportunity.
"We believe every youth can be a leader," she said. "But some need a little bit more help getting involved than others, and this gives them that opportunity."
Derek Nelson, a 15-year-old freshmen at Montevallo High School, was one of the students helping to pack and deliver the bags Saturday.
"I wanted to do something to help people in the community. I also needed to earn some points toward community service, and this was a good way to do it." said Nelson, one of many students who must perform community service as credit toward graduating.
After packing the brown bags, the students broke into groups of threes and fours and were teamed with an adult who drove them to deliver the bags. Each team had three, four or five stops to make Saturday.
One team was that of Matthew Huff, 16, and Anna Chiles, 16, both of The Altamont School, and Lindsey Dean, 17, and Jingzhi Dai, 18, of Vestavia Hills High School. They were driven by the Rev. Bud Precise of Pilgrim Congregational Church.
The team's first stop was at Ophelia George's house on Munger Avenue near Elmwood Cemetery in Birmingham. A retired Birmingham teacher, Mrs. George, who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, was in bed when the group arrived. She required Dai's help in getting out of her bed, first to a walker and then a living room chair.
"I remember you all came last year, but last year they called and told me you were coming so I had time to get up," Mrs. George told the group. "I love you coming. You're all good to do this for me, a handicapped senior citizen."
Once up and in her living room, Mrs. George told the teenagers about her years of teaching at Parker High School but how she was forced to retire at 62 because of her arthritis.
Matthew Huff said he didn't mind spending a Saturday morning helping people like Mrs. George.
"It gives me a chance to help others," he said, "see the problems others face." YouthServe thanked the following businesses for their donations: Piggly Wiggly of Homewood, Al's Deli, Wood Fruittcher, Dixieland Produce and Buffalo Rock.