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Student volunteers serve local, foreign communities

Hot Dogs for the Homeless:

Junior Amy Macrae’s passion to help hungry families all started with fifty hot dogs. More specifically, while volunteering at Stanford Concessions and witnessing hundreds of food items being thrown out, Macrae was inspired to package leftover hot dogs and donate them to families in need around the community. “I know it is not quality food, but a lot of people would have really appreciated it,” Macrae explained. “That’s what I had a problem with.”

Since then, Macrae has been in close contact with organizations around the area such as the Ecumenical Hunger Program and the South Palo Alto Food Closet. She plans to set up drivers after big sporting events and coordinate the donations of leftover food. “Hunger is something very real but overlooked, and when I brought up my idea to the people at Concessions, they jumped at the idea because the food was just going in the trash,” she said.

Although Macrae is still working out the basics of the program, she explains that many people are willing to help. “When I brought up this idea to my friends and family, they were all extremely supportive and shocked that there hasn’t been a program set in place already,” Macrae said. Currently, Macrae has been working closely with junior Jessica Dinneen in order to contact more food distribution sites and transportation services. She is also attending the YCS Costa Rica Service Trip and has received support from other members going on the trip.

Macrae attributes her desire to help to her traveling experience. Over the summer, she traveled to Waha, Mexico, and visited the nearby rural villages with her family. “I have been fortunate enough to travel to places of extreme poverty and after those experiences I began to understand how pressing hunger is and how much these little things—like food items—would mean to people,” Macrae said.

Macrae believes that with her passion to help the community through her venture and the support of others, this project will make a lasting impact. “I really want to give it 150 percent and I want it to be perfect when I’m done with it,” Macrae said.

 

Schools for Africa Fund:

Volunteer work is much more than just a high school graduation requirement for sophomore Eleanor Su. “It ranges anywhere from helping outside of the house, combining your passion and skill set to make the world a better place or anything to help just one person,” Su said.

Su began her dedicated involvement with volunteer work as early as the fifth grade. “I first got involved with an organization called Free The Children in fifth grade where they held small bookathons and coin drives to build a well in Kenya,” Su said. “I got to learn a lot about what was happening in other developing countries. That summer I learned about the 11-year civil war in Sierra Leone which had destroyed the schools and tore families apart. I couldn’t just not do anything about it, so I started brainstorming ways to take action.”

Su first participated in a club at Terman  Middle School and after discovering a passion for community service, she decided to start a club at Gunn.

In her freshman year, Su started her own non-profit organization known as the Schools for Africa Fund. Throughout the past four years, Su has organized a wide variety of fundraisers. She raised over $34,000 from benefit concerts and monthly bake sales. The money was then donated to villages in Sierra Leone. Over the past summer, Su had the opportunity to go to Kenya for three weeks to help build one of the schools and spend time with the children. “Through my actions, I’ve been able to impact hundreds of people in my community and get others inspired to do things that they are passionate about,” Su said.

When Su was younger, she was constantly told that  she was “too young” to make a difference. “Adults used to tell me to wait until I was older or to get my parent’s check book,” Su said. However, her perseverance and consistent efforts are proving them wrong.

Su plans on continuing her work with the non-profit organization and hopes that the Schools for Africa Fund will leave a lasting mark on making education available to students in Sierra Leone. In the process, Su hopes that she and her club members can learn more about developing countries and their needs. “I like that I’m able to make a difference both in my community and abroad,” Su said.

 

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