One of the complaints Americans constantly keep hearing is how our youth are distracted, inattentive, self-centered, and generally disappointing to the generation that preceded them.
Well if that’s true, the young people of Cranberry Township are an important exception. Several weekends ago, I was assisting in a neighborhood food drive organized by Cranberry’s Sunrise Rotary Club along with Gleaner’s Food Bank – a local food pantry that serves residents of Cranberry Township.
It was a huge success. Not only did the drive collect over 600 bags of groceries from our neighbors – enough to provide for more than 100 families – it also saw at least 65 volunteers canvassing their neighborhoods to identify families in need. They came from the Rotary Club, from friends of the club, and especially from the Seneca Valley Lacrosse Team’s players and their families.
A related demonstration of young people volunteering was provided by dozens of students from Seneca Valley and nearby high schools who sorted and shelved the groceries into the pantries of Gleaner’s Food Bank.
I was tremendously impressed watching those young students and players donate so many hours to helping neighbors who needed their assistance. It reinforced my observation that, contrary to the popular stereotype, we are blessed with a caring, giving and loving younger generation in our community – one eager to serve when given the opportunity.
Of course they had leadership. Linda Heery exemplifies volunteerism in service of those experiencing difficult situations. Our community is tremendously fortunate to have someone like Linda who donates so many hours to making sure the Food Bank’s pantries are full and ready to serve those who need help.
Thank you Linda; you amaze me.
The Gleaner’s Food pantry is a truly wonderful volunteer venture. But it is not the only one. There are many worthwhile volunteer organizations, activities, and projects going on in our community. And we encourage them. The Cranberry Plan, the long-range comprehensive Plan our Board of Supervisors adopted in 2009 to guide the Township’s future growth, recognized the importance of volunteerism to securing a healthy future.
Right now, the Cranberry Township Community Chest, CTCC, is leading an effort that will help us better connect those who want to volunteer with the needs that actually exist in our community. I’m convinced that there are many more people willing and waiting to help than we generally realize; we just need to do a better job in tying them to the need. And perhaps the greatest asset we have to draw on is our younger generation.
If you have any thoughts about how we can enhance the opportunities to volunteer in Cranberry Township and engage more young people, I would welcome your ideas. You can reach me at: Jerry.Andree@cranberrytownship.org