GLIFY Joins SF City Impact to Serve People in Need

By Justin Wang

On Thanksgiving day, many people thank, but more can give. From GLIFY, 69 volunteers, our most ever, gave their day to help underprivileged people in the San Francisco Tenderloin District. This is the sixth year GLIFY had joined SF City Impact to serve one of the poorest and most in need district of San Francisco. They worked with hundreds of other volunteers from around the area to make these residents’ Thanksgiving a day to remember. 

The moment the BART station opened its gates that morning, GLIFY volunteers poured in. They took the first train available, nearly filling two full cars! Once at City Impact, each person found their pre-assigned jobs and started working.

Our volunteers prepared and delivered meals, gave medical care, and hosted a carnival, all the while talking and connecting with people. GLIFY also sponsored two children’s education. 

About two dozen volunteers, led by Evan Xu, Daphne Yan and Brianna Zhang, went to the kitchen to make and assemble meals. They deboned turkey, cut ham, made mashed potatoes and mixed salads. These volunteers had to exercise the most self control. For many hours, they were salivating at juicy turkeys, ribs, or apples if they were vegetarian. By the end of the day, they became efficient kitchen helpers that their own homes would appreciate. 

A team of 12, led by Justin Wang, delivered the prepared meals. They went to low-income apartment buildings and handed out these Thanksgiving lunches. The group knocked on doors in pairs and made conversations with the residents. They always looked forward to meeting someone new and different each time they knocked on a door. For example, they met someone who went to business school, a fashion designer, and a drummer. Some were cooking or cleaning. All were thankful and loved the conversations these teenagers struck up with them.

Joey Huang and the rest of the grocery team moved grocery items such as pasta, cereal, cakes, cookies, and canned foods from the storage section to the distribution area. They packed roughly 500 bags full of food and handed them out to homeless and low-income people in the area. Some hadn’t had much to eat for days. Because many lacked cooking equipment, these ready-to-eat grocery items were quite helpful. Everyone was thankful for whatever they got. 

Gavin Yin led the medical center team. The volunteers received on-site training from a nurse to provide blood sugar tests, blood pressure tests, and how to handle basic medical devices. They also gave out sanitizer, toothbrushes, and other personal care items. The team also assisted a prayer area. Some of these teenagers may just end up as medical professionals down the road because of this experience.

Vivian Hir and her youth outreach team joined the volunteers that set up and operated a carnival for children. They danced with the children, handed out free snacks and manned numerous games such as a beanbag toss, basketball hoops, a jumpy house, a soda toss, a lego station, and more. The children went from booth to booth, dragging their parents along. Their ecstatic squeals reminded the GLIFY members of the times when they went to carnivals as little children and were on the receiving end of this joy.

On the train ride back, rows of seats were filled with dozed off teenagers, a great way to recharge for their other Thanksgiving festivities. For them, it was a tiring but fulfilling day. Of course, our volunteers helped the residents in need, but they gave something much longer lasting and more important. They showed the residents care and humanity, making them feel valued and supported, even if only for that one day. They also observed that despite being less fortunate, these residents had the same desires, wishes, and emotions, just like the teeneragers’ own family and friends.

Giving on this special day was an opportunity to remember humility and appreciation.

THANK YOU to the following volunteers:

Lily Bai, Hunter Bian, Kevin Chan, Susan Chan, Fang Chen, Nadia Fan, Tim Fan, Emily Gao, Limin Ge, Jeffery Han, Stanley Hir, Vivian Hir, Grace Hu, Joey Huang, John Huang, Justin Huang, Tingting Huang, Tian Jiang, Alfred Li, Brenda Li, Edwin Li, Julie Li, Kevin Li, Roy Lin, Chang Liu, Kellie Liu, Olivia Liu, Sadie Liu, Julia Lu, Michael Lu, Crystal Lu, Jessica Phongsa, Olivia Phongsa, David Qiu, Di Shan, Kevin Shi, Ying Shi, Justin Wang, Tony Wang, Xingfu Wang, Jonathan Wei, Yourong Wei, Laird Wheeler, Joe Wu, Joshua Wu, Samuel Wu, Eric Xiao, Frank Xiao, Yun Xie, Edward Xu, Evan Xu, Leo Xu, Ryan Xu, Daphne Yan, Lei Yang, Rhoda Yang, Gavin Yi, Brighton Young, Jian Yuan, Matthew Yuan, Andrew Zhang, Andy Zhang, Brianna Zhang, Winnie Zhang, Anna Zhao, Grace Zhao, Justin Zhao, Kevin Zhao, Ling Zhong