By Sarah Garrett,
With the start of the holiday season, many groups and individuals look for ways to give back to their community. A common way this is done is by helping out or volunteering with the homeless community.
According to a 2010 U.S. Census Bureau report on emergency and transitional homeless shelter population, California alone makes up 13.2 percent of the total population of homeless people residing in shelters.
While San Francisco and Los Angeles contain some of the largest homeless populations in the state, Yolo County and in particular Davis still has a large homeless community.
Many Davis High students and groups volunteer at soup kitchens or homeless shelters as a way of giving back. Once a month, the DHS Madrigals Ensemble arranges for eight members to go to the Yolo Wayfarer Center in Woodland and cook and sing for the people there.
Senior and Madrigal member Abby Soler has participated in this program several times, and has found it to be quite rewarding.
“The experience truly opened my eyes to how much a simple act of making dinner for someone can affect them,” Soler said. “You could tell by their faces that they really enjoyed our songs and were impressed by our sound.
After this experience, Soler thinks its important that everyone take some time to volunteer or reach out this holiday season.
“A major aspect of Christmas is giving back,” Soler said. “High school is a great time to get out of ourselves and serve people who aren’t as blessed as we are.”
Senior William Stukas has also frequently volunteered at soup kitchens and homeless shelters, but with his family. He too has worked at the Wayfarer Center in Woodland and also at Davis Community Church.
Stukas has volunteered during all times of the year, and thinks helping out is equally important, regardless of the season.
“For the most part shelters need a lot more help in the other months,” Stukas said. “But people limit their time to only the holiday season which is when everyone else is volunteering so they’re not as needed.”
Stukas hasn’t volunteered yet this year, but is eager to start back up again this month.