The First Giving Friday on May 24, 2024

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What is Giving Friday?

Giving Friday is a community service activity of a university student organization in Las Vegas, New Hope Ocean Club (NHOC), where it believes ocean resources can solve the issue of world hunger. Hunger is closely related to poverty, and both can be the leading causes for human trafficking.  Through the means of supporting the hunger/poverty population, students can develop their heart for people in difficulties and the desire to solve social problems. To cultivate future leaders who are concerned with global issues is one of the primary goals of NHOC.  

As a first step to approach the dilemma of hunger & poverty, NHOC served hot meals and distributed hygiene kits to the local homeless for the past few months in Las Vegas. Based on these experiences, Giving Friday started in May 2024 and will continue every 4th Friday of the month to help the local homeless by giving them hygiene kits and/or other essential items. 

What makes Giving Friday special?

NHOC searches for the homeless on the streets or near undercity tunnels to pass the products one by one, so we can understand and feel the situation of the poor and be more actively seeking solutions to solve their problem. Most people we met were grateful and some people were very happy to have a conversation with us. Approaching people on the street could be dangerous and we need to stay aware, but it is more important to focus on having a heart that wants to give love even if it is a small help. It is also a good bonding experience for each volunteer.

Report from the 1st Giving Friday on May 24, 2024

Giving Friday

New Hope Foundation International staff and NHOC student volunteers gathered at a parking lot of a shopping center near UNLV in the morning and introduced themselves to each other. There were 10 participants and everyone seemed to be excited to do a good deed together. We read inspirational quotes together to have a good mindset and splitted into 3 teams. All teams were able to find the homeless and finished an hour earlier than we expected.

Giving Friday

Team 1 tried to keep the mindset that they were not just giving hygiene kits but giving love to the homeless. Through bending the knees and listening to them carefully, the homeless people could feel their support.

Giving Friday

Team 2 was inspired by team 1 and went back to a group of homeless people after giving all the products and began more conversations with them. One of the homeless men was a musician and played guitar for the team. One volunteer wanted to replace a missing string on the guitar for him after listening to his songs.

Giving Friday

Team 3 went near undercity tunnels. A volunteer left her car key in a bag of hygiene kits and accidentally passed it to the homeless.  After realizing the car key was missing, they went back to the tunnel and didn’t have much hope to find the key again.  However, a homeless man was keeping her key until they came back. Before the team asked, he already knew what they were looking for. Team 3 were very inspired by this homeless man because he was still keeping a good heart even under financial difficulty.

Giving Friday

All the teams were happy when we all gathered after the distribution of 80 hygiene kits.  Some had lunch together and learned more about each other. It was only about 1.5 hours of volunteer work but a very meaningful experience for all of us. We were shocked about their living environment, but it made us appreciate more of what we have.  We came to realize that we easily take things for granted, and there should not be any reason for complaints about our life. 

Volunteers suggested some improvements such as distributing other items in addition to the hygiene kits and finding more locations of where homeless dwell in the city. We hope to impact the homeless in the community step by step.

We are especially thankful for the hygiene kit donations from Clean the World. Without their support, this activity wouldn’t be possible.

Testimonies from NHOC volunteers

Felicia:

I really enjoyed today’s experience! I felt very warm taking time out to help others and at times I also felt so touched and sometimes saddened hearing some stories. Thank you again for inviting me out 🙂

Anjelo:

Every time I witness these living conditions, I think about how important it is for everyone to implement some type of giving or donating in their lives every once in a while.

Something to improve:  I think we can talk more about how we can talk to the homeless people like one group did to see more from their perspective and what else they might need.

Haley:

I saw a lot of trash, and that was the main thing I noticed!! I felt that everyone was really happy just to talk to someone and make a friendly connection. I learned about a whole area of town that I had no idea about, including a park that was mostly homeless people. But it was still nice because there were kids and bikers and teenagers still just hanging out even with all the homeless, which gave me hope.

Ana:

Giving out hygiene kits to the homeless was an amazing experience. I felt impacted by seeing up close their living situation. I saw how difficult their circumstances are and how they do their best to survive. Seeing how they accepted hygiene kits with gratitude allowed me to understand the need that they are experiencing. I am happy to see how one is able to make a change in giving back.

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