For This High School Student, Solving Hunger Transformed From An Extracurricular Activity to A Personal Mission
Trina Sarkar, a student in California, originally joined her high school’s WFP club out of friendship: her friend was the founding President and looking for new members. Then, she witnessed hunger and poverty first-hand during a family trip to India and became determined to make a difference. Now, as president of the school’s WFP club, she has the opportunity to share with her classmates how students can solve hunger and change the future. Here’s her story in her own words.
Two years ago, I was a fifteen-year-old freshman in a high school filled with activities, clubs, and fundraisers. I faced a difficult decision: what should I support and attend? Then, I learned that my good friend, Sisi Zhang, had formed a World Food Programme Club at our school in California and was looking for new members. At first, I signed up merely in order to support my friend in her new venture. After just one meeting though, I realized the power that this club and we, the members, held.
I am an American-born Indian and every December my family takes a two-week vacation to India to visit our friends and relatives. Though India is on the rise to become a developed and advanced nation, there are still many areas that are plagued by poverty. In the city where my grandparents live, Calcutta, this poverty is clearly visible. As you are driving to a friend’s house, young kids, infants, and teenagers will knock on your windows and beg for a few rupees. As you walk down the street to a nearby store, you can see the crippled, old women and men who should be enjoying a nice and quiet retirement searching through large trash piles for scraps of food instead. Every year I go, the problem never seems to go away. Instead, I see more kids knocking on my window and more “grandparents” searching through piles of rubbish. It is now 2013. This needs to change.
So after just one meeting in our World Food Programme Club, I realized that this was a worthy mission and one that affected me personally. For two years, I religiously attended those Thursday lunch meetings. I advanced from dedicated member, to treasurer, and finally to president. This year, our club aims to raise US$1,500 collectively for the World Food Programme through WFPUSA and their Coins for Kids Initiative. We plan to do this through fundraisers, red cup donations and raising rice on Freerice.com. This year, we will be holding our annual rummage sale in either February or March and we also have plans to volunteer at local food shelters and soup kitchens. Our club now has over 60 members and they are all dedicated to alleviating the issue of hunger that affects countries all over the world. Hopefully, we will be able to see the changes that manifest themselves out of our club’s dedication and hard work.
-Written by Trina Sarkar