For some students, the thought of going without food for a day or two is unthinkable. The thought of people in the community going hungry for a week is unimaginable, but through serving at a food pantry, students know it happens. An hour, or even just a couple hours of service, can be eye-opening to the circumstances people face every day and every holiday season when they simply don’t have enough to eat or feed their children.
There are many “service” organizations on campus that require students to get a certain amount of service hours per semester or per six weeks. However, there are always options to get service hours that don’t really seem like they count as dedicating time to helping the less fortunate. Clubs should be stricter about counting hours and making sure that students are really trying to help the community.
Service hours aren’t just service for another person; taking time from one’s day to help others affects the student performing the service too. That’s why buying items for the less fortunate should not be considered an hour of service, because things like that are called donations. Buying an item for someone else is a gift, and while that can make both people happy, it’s just not the same as working in a soup kitchen or stocking the shelves of a food pantry. Some organizations (like National Honor Society) at the school don’t offer hours for delivering the items either, which seems to be a good way to earn a few hours. A student doesn’t learn anything from purchasing a toy, putting it in a shoe box, and turning it into the teacher in charge of the organization. Service hour options like operation Christmas are great, but shouldn’t count as a full hour.
Donated items are useful, and they should count for something, but they shouldn’t count as much as an hour of service. Sometimes students run out of time and need to give an item to complete their hours, so it isn’t a terrible option. It’s just not the best option so perhaps it could count as half an hour. Things that should count as an hour(s) are helping with the special needs Olympics and working at a food pantry. There’s always a need for things to give, but giving time is much more valuable than any item on Earth. The point of service clubs is to provide service to the community and teach students to give back. There’s no use in having a “service” club if students can just buy all their service hours and not learn anything.