My name is Sundas and I am from Pakistan, a poverty-stricken and underdeveloped country. I am passionate about poverty alleviation, particularly through women’s empowerment and children’s education. To help enact my goals, I am currently a Fulbright Student enrolled in the graduate Social Enterprise Program at American University in Washington, DC. My academic focus is specifically international development.
Because of my goal of becoming a social change agent, and my desire to honor the ideals of what it means to be a Fulbrighter, I volunteered to help prepare meals for the homeless at the D.C. Central Kitchen in December 2014.
D.C. Central Kitchen empowers people and develops communities through food. Every day, 5,000 meals are prepared at D.C. Central Kitchen and distributed to approximately 80 homeless shelters, transitional homes, and not-for-profit organizations—helping them to nourish their clients. Furthermore, D.C. Central Kitchen also offers a Culinary Job Training program for unemployed women and men, helping them to develop skills so that they can start new careers, find homes, and start new lives.
Volunteering at D.C. Central Kitchen was an enlightening experience. 20 volunteers assembled at the kitchen at 9:00 A.M. and were briefed on the mission of D.C. Central Kitchen: its impact, rules and regulations of volunteering, safety hazards and maintaining hygienic work protocols. After that, volunteers were assigned duties. I was sent to the “corn cake cutting and packing station,” where I spent the next three hours cutting cake, labeling and packing it to be loaded into trucks. It was an enriching experience, and I have signed up with the D.C. Central Kitchen to continue volunteering with them in the future.