I Came To Serve But Left Forever Changed
With the support and devotion of the Hawaiian Foodbank, Feeding The Hungry is an outreach program that has had a tremendous impact on countless lives for over twenty years. Volunteers that commit to serving every week create an atmosphere where people are able to build relationships and connections that last a lifetime. It’s an environment encompassing joy, where encouragement is constantly given. People come to receive food but above all else, they know that it is a place where they are seen, heard, and deeply valued.
Personally, FTH is one of my favorite things to do. Not just out of the things we do with Surfing The Nations, but it is honestly one of the most fulfilling, joyful, and purposeful things I’ve ever been involved with. It’s incredibly neat and structured, yet messy sometimes but also very flexible, which leaves lots of room for everyone to find a way to serve using their own strengths. FTH has challenged me to trust in the capability of others, give up my desire for perfectionism, grow in compassion, take steps outside of my comfort zone and serve selflessly. I also see how being in charge of your own tiny part of the outreach and having authority even if you are younger moves people into leadership, instilling a greater sense of confidence. Feeding The Hungry has such an incredible opportunity to serve the community, and is also a great training ground for the volunteers. It teaches you a multitude of hands-on skills, as well as working with people who have strengths that differ from your own. FTH is a place where you get to learn to love people who offer you nothing in return, and I think that’s what has made such a huge impact on my life and who I am. ~ Moa Gustavsson
Meet Auntie Elizabeth,
One of the very first I met at FTH was Elizabeth, she sits in the same corner every week with the same aunties around her. She is a beautiful 93-year-old auntie, who is probably one of the toughest ladies I have ever met! At the age of 80, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and beat it! Though she did not go through radiation, she had to sit through hours of IV treatments and would also need a mastectomy. Despite all the treatments, Elizabeth was able to keep all of her hair, which is something she was very proud of. In February of 2017, was the one year anniversary of her son’s death. Although it was hard to understand exactly what she was saying while she told me what happened, I could tell it was a tragic death that no one had expected. Yet in the midst of all the pain, she didn’t let it bring her down and she stepped in to help out the family even more. She has raised an amazing family and has also helped raise some of her grandchildren. She also supports her children financially and her oldest granddaughter is living with her while she goes to college. Elizabeth says that her one wish is that she will be able to see her granddaughter graduate from her master’s program. Born and raised in Hawaii all her life, she makes leis for a living and travels often to sell them. She gave me her phone number and address so she could teach me how to make them. What an incredibly wise and sweet woman she is. ~ Mikael Snook
These are just a couple among a plethora of stories that paint a picture of the impactful and life-changing experiences people have each week. It is a radical and humbling opportunity to not only give back but to receive the unconditional love that’s continuously given.