Strength through Unity

Jan 20, 2017Student Leadership Development Institute Blog

By Daniel Singer

Over the course of my two and a half years here at Walnut Hill College, I’ve learned many things that have helped me develop as a professional. I’ve been in classes that have helped me in the Hospitality industry and through the different challenges of being at College, I’ve also learned about how to be a better stronger person. Throughout the time here and through all of the experiences I’ve had and learned from, whether in class or at work, the most important thing I learned is that when you ask for help, you bring people together; and, you are more powerful with the help of others than you are by yourself.

I came to see how true this is when I and a few other fellow students wanted to cook for a community-centered church for thanksgiving. In the beginning, I had the idea of cooking and serving hot food at a church for those in the community who may or may not have the ability to cook for themselves on thanksgiving. I presented the idea to Dean Morrow and he helped me narrow down what it was that I wanted, and how then to execute it. After talking with Dean Morrow on multiple occasions I talked about it with other students and many teachers over the course of about a month. This allowed me to get many perspectives on the situation and other better (not always) alternative ways to do it.

After a month of planning and creating a menu and talking (…and talking and talking) about what and how we were going to do it, we had a plan. While talking with the church we came to the conclusion we were going to need food for around 200-300 people and order to get the food we were going to host a few food drives. We reached out to the whole college and asked whoever felt willing to help me with the cause and to donate food; our first act of business, a can drive for vegetables. Then a week before thanksgiving we asked for items such as turkeys and spices and other items for stuffing and mashed potatoes. To be honest, I was nervous and very much scared we wouldn’t get enough food. This was a lot of people to serve and the church had us scheduled…there was no way I could back out now! And it was two weeks before Thanksgiving and we had no food and not enough money to buy the food if no one donated.

However, almost as soon as we gave up on the idea of people donating, we were overwhelmed with how many people, when asked to give, were willing to give. In the first can drive the students in this college donated over two hundred cans, which alone was enough for what we needed in that area. In the course of the next two weeks before asking for perishable items, the teachers and faculty raised another one hundred cans in various ways. Finally, in the week before thanksgiving when we put up the table for perishable items, we received over fifteen turkeys from different people, over eighty pounds of potatoes, thirty pounds each of carrots and onions, fifteen pounds of celery, and fifteen boxes of a variety of spices. On top of these donations, the people at this college gave over three hundred dollars in cash with which we were able to buy another ten turkeys and dessert for the entire church (Which was something I hadn’t thought we were going to be able to do).

As a result of the generosity of the people here at the college, we were able to serve over six hundred people the day of thanksgiving. It may have been my idea but it was more than just the idea that made it possible… It was the people at this college! From people like Dean Morrow and Dr. Seery who helped me tone this idea into something possible…to Ms. McAmis who brought a huge amount of energy into the plan…to Mrs. Bloome who helped me stay organized…to the maintenance team who helped transport the food and helped put up tables and stands. It wasn’t an idea that allowed this to happen, it was a collaboration of everyone at the college being willing to help. When people come together great things can happen…strength by unity you might say.

There is this stigma everywhere I look that says asking for help or assistance is a sign of weakness, however, asking for help is to me a sign of strength. It shows that you are able to look at a job or task and say this will be much more successful if I have others help me and I learned that through this thanksgivings dinner. I asked many many people to help me with this project and every one of them came through to create this dinner that I could not have been happier about. Finally, the people at the church were blown away by the results of the giving nature of both the students and staff at Walnut Hill College.

Click this link to go the Student Leadership Development Institute’s portion of the college website and check out some photos of the event under Student Leader Activities and Events!

-Daniel Singer, Student Leader, B.S. in Restaurant Management Candidate, Class of July 2017