SF City Impact 2016

by: Jonathan Ye

On Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, over 70 volunteers from Global Leadership Initiative (GLI) attended the San Francisco City Impact Outreach. They joined hundreds of others who helped share the holiday cheer and festivities with those in need. This is the third year that GLI has participated in this event. The outreach event is located specifically in the Tenderloin District, one of the poorest of San Francisco. Here, over 26% of the population is below the poverty line, nearly double the average. Its population density is the highest of the city, and so are its crime rates. Much of the city’s over 6000 homeless traverse through the district every day.

Volunteers were divided into various groups, from giving medical care to making and serving food, to running a kid’s carnival, to even giving manicures and haircuts. I was allocated to the food delivery section, carrying boxes of meals from the food preparation center to low-income apartments. Many residents are supported federal aid, they would be homeless. But living in an apartment also meant isolation in a cramped room. I, along with many others, went door to door, offering meals to anyone that answered to my knocking. Once all the apartments had received meals, we began handing out meals on the street to anyone that wanted them.

At first, I was hesitant to converse with the people, saying only the necessary, “City Impact, we have a meal for you” and “Happy Holidays!” But as I saw their face light up as I gave them a meal, and saw their gratitude, I became less reserved with them. I tried to extend the conversation, asking them how they were doing, if they needed anything else. I smiled and laughed with them. The happiness that they felt spread to me and warmed my heart. I began looking forward to giving a meal and the gratification that came with it. Behind every door was a person with a story. They were all unique and different, and just like me.

GLI helped serve nearly 5,000 meals, and help roughly 900 adults and 500 children over two days. Of course, two days of aid can only alleviate poverty, not break its cycle, which requires continual help and aid. Thus, GLI has sponsored 2 children at the SF City Academy, which provides individualized education to help students in the Tenderloin district succeed. Monthly donations will go towards the tuition of the two students.

The holidays are a hectic time of enjoying the company of loved ones, and, in the midst of it all, it is easy to forget how utterly fortunate most of us are, and that there are others who may not be able to enjoy even the things we take for granted. We all need to

care for one another, especially on the holidays. While it may seem that you have to sacrifice your time to help others, the opposite is true. Despite different external conditions, we are all the same underneath, and we all want to connect with other humans. By helping them out, and sharing our joy with them, we are empathizing with them, and we are all benefiting from it.

Special Thanks to:

• Jason Lai, Kevin Gao, and Michael Zhu, who led the project

• Wendy Chen, Wendy Wang, and Xiaoying Yang, who helped set up and organize the event

• And all the volunteers that attended SF City Impact:

Sandy Ching, Kevin Li, Qin Guo, Zhengbin Li, Evan Xu, Ryan Xu, Jingxiao Xu, Ling Zhong, Ruyi Ma, Wendy Ma, Yingying He, Kevin Shi, Michael Wang, Kevin Wang, Jeffrey Tan, Ingrid Lin, Weiying Shen, Yiying Zhang, Alexander Zhou, Changning Zhang, Daniel Zhong, May Zhong, Angela Han, Jonathan Han, Susan Duan, Jovian Wang, Lucy Luo, Nanxiang Wang, Fan Yuan, Kevin Gao, Yuhao Gao, Andrew Wang, Jonathan Ye, Wenhui Li, Angela Luo, Eric Luo, Ming Luo, Hua Li, Eric Wu, Hulling Song, Shannon Yan, Daphne Yan, Qing Zhu, Emily Nie, Andrew Liu, Alice Wang, John Zhou, Daniel, Sillin Meng, Ashley Zhuang, Stephanie Yu, Changjie Sun, Ivy Lin, Johnson Min, Jocelyn Min, Anna Lin, Jun Lin, Hongmei Lin, Guifen He, Mingtao Li, Freesia Liu, Larry Zhu, Kevin Zhu, John Min, Lillian Luo