live civilly is pleased to publish this week’s blog, written by volunteer and now Teen Leader, Alexis Angelini. Alexis has been a live civilly  volunteer for the last two years and has accepted the challenge of being part of our teen leadership board. As a teen leader, she and other teens will help build that connective bridge with younger children and families and encourage them to continue their service into their teen years. Alexis’ perspective on volunteering and being involved is shared within this blog. Thank you Alexis!

Living in an opulent area, such as Moorestown, can have many benefits. Growing up I’ve had a wonderful education and many opportunities most people do not get to experience. The unfortunate side to living in a community that is so significantly financially well-off is that it creates a bubble; we are hidden from the reality of the rest of the world. Sadly, poverty effects about one half on the earth’s population. According to dosomething.org, “more than three billion people live on less than $2.50 a day.” I want others to be able to experience life the same way I have. I don’t want others to have to go hungry at night, be worried because they don’t have top brands of clothing and/or be embarrassed because they feel like they don’t fit in because of their social status. The easiest way to start this change? Help out in my local community.

I first started to help live civilly my sophomore year of high school. Originally, I started by occasionally stacking shelves at the food pantry in St.Matthew’s church. Circling the expiration dates on canned foods, crossing off the barcodes, putting them on their proper shelf… repeat…repeat…repeat. After completing that first one hour shift at the pantry I knew that this was something that I wanted to continue. Stocking the shelves while leaning about the program made this so called hour of “work” much more than that. It was less “work” and more impactful. I enjoyed going to the St. Matthews church’s spare classroom.  Now, I’m entering my senior year at Moorestown High School and have helped out the food pantry almost every Thursday this past summer. I’ve become a Teen Leader and now meet other volunteers and local families at the pantry and show them how to stock the shelves and organize the pantry.

When I volunteer with the families I make sure to reiterate to them, most of the food in this room goes to people in our town – yes, Moorestown. I tell them that it’s important to give back because not everyone is as fortunate as others. The next time the families come to volunteer, I can visibly see that they understand the importance of this service. They smile as they put the jars of peanut butter on the shelves or circle an expiration date on a can of tuna. Parents make sure to mention that they did a good job and are proud of them because they took the time to help people out. I love that I can see this mentality is being passed down to younger generations.

There are plenty of ways to get involved as I have not only helped with the food pantry but parade clean up, giving out snacks at the tree lighting ceremony, Homework Help, and more. I encourage everyone to help out their community because it’s such a gratifying way to help someone else who needs it. As Muhatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”