By Sneha Kadiyala
Vibha Atlanta youth volunteers recently worked with Meals by Grace at a volunteer event on Sunday, March 15th. Meals by Grace is an organization that packs and provides meals for socioeconomically challenged children. They make, pack and deliver nutritious meals to households with limited or no transportation. About twenty youth volunteers received the opportunity to volunteer at the operation. I was lucky to be one among them.
The volunteer process began at 1:00. We met at a church that provided its kitchen to help house this program. The volunteers signed up at the front desk, and then gathered in the auditorium. Suellen Daniels explained the origins and purpose of Meals By Grace. The non-profit charity started in the Daniels’ kitchen and kept expanding to larger locations to fit the amount of interested volunteers. The program was making plans to change to a bigger church, because they had recently outgrown the church we had volunteered at. After the speech, we were split up into different tasks. There were five official teams: the bread/dessert team, the kitchen duty team, fruit/salad prep team, and the dishwashing team. The day we volunteered, they had added a special duty team. The organization had small miscellaneous tasks that it handed out to extra volunteers.
I was assigned to the cleaning team. We were in charge of cleaning out the freezer and the refrigerator. The operation ran smoothly as the cooks moved to the side to accommodate us. After finishing the cleaning in the kitchen, we moved out to an outer room and cleaned the chairs and tables. The work was made easy with the friendly chatter between the volunteers. Once the cleaning was finished, we dispersed to help other volunteers. I progressed to help the other Vibha Atlanta youth volunteers with cleaning up the lettuce and cauliflower. Ankita Das, the Vice President of Northview’s Vibha Atlanta Youth club, was one of the volunteers helping sort the lettuce. “We separated the lettuce and looked to see if there were any bad ones. We cut off the bad parts and repackaged all the good lettuce,” she explained. “The houses which Meals by Grace helps out usually don’t have transportation to go buy fresh vegetables from the supermarket and stock their pantries. The organization helps them out a lot by providing them with these supplies that they can’t get anywhere else.”
The experience as a whole was eye-opening and satisfying. The Presidents of the Vibha Atlanta Youth club at Northview, Manasa Chimpiri and Vikash Movva, were very organized and called together the youth volunteers very well. Ankita Das, a junior Both are graduating seniors with a lot on their plates, but they made the time to help out a great non-profit. I had a lot of fun at the event and got to spend a Sunday with my friends while helping people. If you want to learn more or donate to Meals by Grace, click here!