Sara Gibson volunteered to help veterans


After volunteering at a holiday party for veterans and their families near a veteran's hospital in Los Angeles, it struck me how many veterans were living.

As I was walking around, I discovered many lack some of the most basic necessities that I cannot even imagine living without. Some were living daily with no deodorant and others were preserving a toothbrush they had for over a year. As a granddaughter of a Korean War veteran and frequent volunteer at Operation Gratitude, I could not imagine seeing the kind of neglect I did without trying to make some type of change. Without much hesitation, I decided to lead a schoolwide drive where I collected thousands of personal care items for veterans.

I had the help of my school club, Red Cross, and its members, who spread the word of the drive to their loved ones and friends. Luckily, many people were as enthusiastic about it as me and donated as much as they could. My dad, who runs a large grocery store, had many kind employees and customers donate to the cause. After the two week long drive, I had some friends sort out everything we got. We put all the soap in one pile, the deodorant in another, the socks in another pile, and so on.

After, we made care kits to hand out to veterans in a local veteran hospital using the supplies we had. Moreover, while some may presume that things as inexpensive as soap and shampoo are widely available to everyone, it certainly was not the case for many veterans I came across. And while my drive may have been small on the scale of the necessity of all people who fight for our country, I felt it touched and helped a sizable group of veterans and I hope that I can bring more change in the future to even more veterans.

— Sara Gibson, 19, California