19 July 2020—Our second package distribution

Thanks to everyone who has supported this project. I’ve already handed out forty-two packages, and having raised over seven hundred dollars, I’ll be able to hand out about one hundred fifty more.

On July 19, my brothers helped me fill the trunk with thirty packages of food and my parents drove us down to the border. When we arrived at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, it was near noon and the sun was high in the sky. Vendors weaved between cars and children played along the side of the road. Although the pictures tell part of the story, it’s impossible to relay the exact feelings and emotions of that day.

I stayed well within a fifty meter radius while handing out the packages. You’d think that thirty packages would be enough for a fifty meter radius. In reality, only a small fraction of those in need received a package of food.

As I scanned the area, I was forced to do the impossible and hand out the packages when I didn’t have enough for everyone who needed one. It felt so awful and unjust to be making such a significant, grim decision, but I simply didn’t have enough food. It came down to how debilitated the person in question seemed. Were they elderly? Were they a child? Were they sick or incapacitated in some other way? Did they have a box of bubblegum to sell, or were they just holding an empty cup?

The packages were gone before long. It was extremely difficult to witness the vast quantity of people in need. I gave a package to a blind pregnant woman with two children, one of whom danced to Billie Jean as I neared. There was a man with a limp, and he balanced the plastic bag full of food precariously on his only finger. I also gave a package to a trio of little boys sitting on the curb.

Out of all the beautiful people I interacted with that day, I was most impacted by one man. He came out of nowhere and flew haphazardly down the street, his wheelchair spinning unpredictably. He moved at the speed of light, despite having only one arm and one leg, and I had to run to catch up to him. He thanked me and asked me to hang the bag on his wheelchair. I placed it in a reusable bag I had brought with me, in case the plastic bag ripped. As he zoomed away, he thanked God and began to cry.

Growing up in Irvine hides the realness of this world from you—the bad, the ugly, and the unfair hardships that others must face. The world is far from perfect, but the last thing we should do is turn a blind eye and cocoon ourselves into our comfortable lives. If we have the resources to help the tiniest bit, then we need to take action. A real and imperfect world means that we have the opportunity to be kind, generous, and empathetic human beings.