The SALT high school program at Outreach Community Center in Carol Stream encourages students to serve others through team service projects in the community. Recently they had the chance to volunteer at People’s Resource Center, a food pantry and community service organization in Wheaton. The students performed several tasks, including helping shoppers go through the food line, unpacking donations and restocking shelves.

According to Jeremy McDowell, high school education and employment instructor, this opportunity provided students with valuable community service experience. “My hope is that our students will continue to see a need in the community and decide that they can be the ones to do something about it,” he says. “We are using opportunities like this one to foster a lifelong desire to serve others in our students.”

Students shared that the experience has affected them. “I got to see where people came from and I could connect with them because I have a similar story,” said student Norberto Lopez. “It was great to see the younger children smile when they received the food they wanted,” he added.

“I always knew there was a need in my own community, but actually doing something about it opened my eyes to the real need,” said another student, Tim Hydzik.

Jeremy hopes the partnership with People’s Resource Center will be ongoing. “It’s easy to say yes to helping those in need through an organization that truly cares for others,” he says. “I’m thrilled our students felt the same way.”