20080913 Food Gathers

Food Gatherers
Reported by You Ning Lee
Edited by Huey Shann Sue and Szu Ling Yeap

This was probably the last time we volunteered for Food Gatherers at Parkway Meadows, a low-income housing for senior citizens aged 65 and above.  As for this time, the task we did was pretty unique. We did not help out packing and distributing food as usual. Instead, we were requested to help conducting a survey about the accessibility of fresh fruits and vegetables at Washtenaw County.

The reason behind was that most of the residents are Chinese and they do not understand English well, whereas other Food Gatherers volunteers do not speak Mandarin. Tzu Chings’ help was needed as most of the Tzu Chings could converse well both in Mandarin and English. Our job was to translate and to explain the questions on the survey to them. The day before that, in order to ease our interviewing process, Huey Shann, UMTC President and Szu Ling, UMTC Vice President, had translated all the survey forms into Mandarin version and had printed out a few copies for each Tzu Chings volunteer. Tina Sang, a Food Gatherers’ intern, was amazed by our sincerity and our hard work to help out. She was in charge of giving us a briefing on how we should interview tactfully as some of the questions on the surveys might be sensitive to certain residents.

After several interviews with the senior citizens, I realized that most of them live a pretty sustainable lifestyle. They just purchase what they need for basic living. They walk, cycle or ride a bus to buy groceries. Some of them even grow their own fruits and vegetables. On average, most of them just have 100-200 dollar per months for living but they are content and grateful with their current lifestyle. However, some have to forgo eating more nutritious food due to the rising groceries price in the market.

After an hour and the half, more than 40 surveys had been completed. All the Tzu Chings had fun talking to the senior citizens and it was a pleasant experience getting to interact more with them. I hope that Food Gatherers will take action in order to provide better food accessibility to the residents.

The Food Gatherers Coordinator and Intern, Marti and Tina respectively, thanked us earnestly for the great job done. They said that they could never get that many surveys completed without our help due to language barrier. As a token of their gratitude to us, UMTC have been invited to their Food Gatherers Volunteers Appreciation Party in October. Great job, everyone! Thank you and gan en!

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