Wexner Service Corps members packing Buddy Boxes including the author, Jessie Goldberg, third from the left.

On Sunday, December 2, we met up at the Family Mentor Foundation to organize and pack Buddy Boxes for children in need. We split up into teams and created an assembly line to make the process smooth and efficient. We assembled, packed and checked the boxes to make sure they had the correct number of items in each box.

The first round of food was sponsored by Kroger, as part of Kroger’s Zero Hunger, Zero Waste program in partnership with the Family Mentor Foundation. When we finished boxing all of the Kroger-sponsored food, we moved on to the food that Family Mentor Foundation had purchased or collected through food drives. By the end, we packed more than 600 boxes of food!

After we finished packing boxes, we gathered for our Jewish learning session to discuss the reasons why we celebrate Hanukkah. Each of us went around and said the best Hanukkah gift we had ever received and then we talked about how we thanked our parents or who ever had gotten us the gift. That answer was easy. But when we thought about everyday things like cooking dinner, picking us up from school, keeping us healthy, or having a place to stay at night, a lot of us could not think of a recent time that we had expressed our gratitude. We talked about how Hanukkah is a time of thanksgiving when we have a chance to express our gratitude and give thanks not only for the miracles that occurred so long ago, but also for the people we care about and the chance to tell them how much they mean to us today. 

Overall I think I learned a very important lesson, not only about hard work, but about the importance of showing your gratitude towards others. Of course I am thankful for my mom picking me up and my dad making dinner, but very rarely do I tell them that. Over the course of Hanukkah I tried to show more gratitude for the special people in my life and I encourage you to take a few moments to think about the people you care about. Find a way to show them how appreciative you are and how much they mean to you. You won’t regret it.

Editor’s Note: The Family Mentor Foundation is a local organization that helps feed more than 800 children a month through its Buddy Box program. Each box contains 10 non-perishable food items to help children experiencing food insecurity get through the weekend. Earlier this year, Wexner Service Corps teens collected food to supply the Buddy Boxes and helped unload and organize the Family Mentor Foundation warehouse after one of their larger events.

Get To Know The Author

Jessie Goldberg is a junior at Upper Arlington High School and a member of Congregation Tifereth Israel.