HFK: Rations Drive

The Sri Lankan New Year, which falls on the 14th of April, is all about getting together with your family, receiving presents, and eating good food. In the spirit of this holiday, Hope For Kids held its annual rations drive at school, so that we could celebrate the new year at the hospital with deserving families. This was a great way to end my time as a leader of the service, as it let me really see the impact of my work over the past two years.

In order to get the rations drive under way, we started planning for it at the beginning of March, assigning a particular good to each grade. We decided on these items depending on necessity and the average diet of a Sri Lankan family. In order to motivate our classmates, we promised a pizza party to the grade that brought in the most rations, although we also stressed the importance and joy of helping others in our community.

After collecting these rations for a month, it was time to go from classroom to classroom, gathering and counting the food that was brought in. There was some heavy lifting involved, with some members of the service carrying 25 Kg of rice down two flights of stairs, but this just meant that our school had come through – we had enough and more rations to give out.

Our last service day before our half term break, we loaded all the rations into an extra van, along with a shopping cart that some people speculated was borrowed rom a local grocery store. At the hospital, we each took turns knocking on the rooms doors, and giving each family a bag of rations, and wishing them a happy Sri Lankan New Year. The best part for me was having rations left over, and being able to give these to the guards and cleaning staff we see around the hospital each time we visit.

This was a great way to directly experience the impact we make in our community and realize we are doing something worthwhile, so it was a great note to end service on for me.

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HFK -Preparation for the New Year

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Food and Fun Fair

After weeks of tie-dying shirts, making dream catchers and beading necklaces, the Food and Fun Fair finally dawned on Saturday, the 2nd of April. The fair was cheerful and bustling from the start, and it took me a moment to take in the colorful stalls and find the one that was labelled ‘Hope For Kids’. Thanks to the wonderful teachers we had supervising us, the stall was set up for success, with all our hard work displayed proudly along with many pictures of our work at the hospital.

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The HFK Stall

I, along with many of my fellow members, stopped by the stall frequently  throughout the fair to make sure that the members manning the stall could take a break. Unfortunately, I couldn’t spend all my time at my service stall as, like all the others, I also had to help out with our class stall, the ‘Slip ‘N Slide’. However, I still supported Hope For Kids by sending many of my friends to the stall, and buying something from the stall myself. Apart from raising money for our cause, I think our enthusiasm and commitment conveyed to all our customers our dedication to the service and its importance in Sri Lanka. Hopefully, our time at the fair also served in inspiring others to pay more attention to all the kids in need in Sri Lanka.

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Rations at the Hospital (Photo Credits: Smriti Nagarajan)

 

The Food and Fun Fair was a nice way of welcoming the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, here in Sri Lanka, which falls on the 13th or 14th of April, depending on the year. As this is a time where family and friends get together and celebrate new beginnings, we wanted the kids at the hospital, along with their families, to have the same opportunity. Therefore, as we had done the year before, we had a dry rations fundraiser at school before spring break, so the kids at the hospital could indulge in good food during this happy time. To incentivize our classmates to bring in dry rations (such as rice, milk powder, and other Sri Lankan staple foods), we decided to award the grade that brought in the most rations a pizza party.

 

 

The Thursday before spring break, as we were all struggling to load the immense amount of dry rations into our van to take to the kids, we realized how much our classmates had really delivered. This was especially true in the case of grade 7, who brought in the most amount of dry rations and won the pizza party.

At the hospital, due to the shy smiles and heartfelt ‘thank you’s of the kids and their families as we gave them their rations, it was wonderful to hear that we had brought in extra rations and could donate them to even more families.

As a Sri Lankan looking forward to her own New Year, I’m really grateful that I got to start it in such a simple, yet uplifting way.

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Taking the Rations to the Hospital (Photo Credits: Smriti Nagarajan)