The following was written by AHA Senior Megan Cleary '15 as a culminating project to her Campus Ministry team Service Learning course.
Ever since I was little I have loved M&Ms. They were my favorite candy to get at Halloween and I would love when my mom would let me get a pack at the grocery store. When I was 9, I went to Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) for the first time. I don’t remember much from this event other than the tubes of mini M&Ms they sold. I begged my mom to let me get a tube and she explained to me that she would let me, but that these M&Ms weren’t like normal M&Ms because at FMSC we are asked to bring back the tube filled with quarters once we finished our M&Ms. I did not understand what she meant, I had bought M&Ms before and I never had to give money back. She explained to me, FMSC sold these M&Ms as a fundraiser to help pay for the food that we just packed for kids all over the world. I agreed to do extra chores over the next few weeks in order to earn enough money to fill my tube all the way to the top with quarters. Once my tube was filled, my family went back to FMSC and I had the opportunity to give them my quarter-filled tube. The workers were so grateful and told me that I was helping change the lives of kids just like me all around the world. My filled M&M tube was going to give 64 children a meal that without my donation they wouldn’t have. This experience made me realize how wonderful it is to give to others and that even the smallest donation can make an impact in someone’s life.
This year as part of my Campus Ministry Team (CMT) class, I had the opportunity to create a service-learning project. When we were challenged to come up with a project, I immediately thought of FMSC. I have been serving consistently at FMSC as part of my service for CMT, and have become aware of their constant need for donations. FMSC is a nonprofit organization that relies solely on donations to keep their business going. When trying to come up with an idea for how to raise money for FMSC, I thought of those little M&M tubes I loved as a kid. Nine years later I still love M&Ms and thought many other high school students would too.
My group and I decided we would sell M&M tubes to students and give all of the proceeds to FMSC. There were many things we had to do in order for this event to be successful. We had to make posters to advertise the fundraiser, purchase M&Ms to sell, organize with the school administration and much more. For one week we sold the M&Ms before school, and on the final day we sold them at lunch as well. We sold each tube for $2 and motivated students to bring them back filled with quarters by giving an out-of-uniform pass to each student who brought back at least $5. After a week of hard work, we were able to raise $433 to donate to FMSC, which is the cost of nearly 2,000 meals.
By doing this project, I had the opportunity to learn many important lessons about organizing events and working with others. This project taught me that listening to others and never giving up are important aspects of a successful project. It also made me aware of how much I enjoy giving to others and how I would like to organize similar events in the future. Through this project I also discovered how generous and supportive the AHA community is. We were overwhelmed by the amount of donations we received and extremely satisfied with our results. I am very thankful for the opportunity to do this project, for it taught me many lessons I will be able to use in my future.
Mother Teresa says, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” My group and I put a lot of hard work into this project and I don’t think it would have been as successful if it wasn’t for our compassion. We all think FMSC is a great organization that does magnificent work. By doing our fundraiser we did not change the world but I do believe we were able to change someone’s life.