Volunteer Feature Series: Anyone Can Do It

By Sana Odeh

It was a humbling experience to work with Zakat Foundation's campaign to “Rebuild Gaza Home by Home.” This year, St. Xavier University's Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) held a fundraising dinner and a Bubble Ball tournament to raise funds to rebuild homes in Gaza. These efforts could not have been made without the generous contributions of extraordinary and diverse members of the SJP general body, distinguished Saint Xavier University students and staff, as well as community members involved in the events. Nothing could've been done without their collaborative teamwork and help.

I believe it is our duty, not just as Palestinians, but as conscious human beings, to help those in need any way we can. These people are our brothers and sisters, and that could've been any one of us in that situation. Those homes destroyed could have been any of our homes, but they aren't. It comes down to self-awareness, how aware we are of our blessings here and how conscious we are of the situation at hand.

Some of the youth today may feel like they can't help out and make a difference because of school, work, or some other obligation, thinking once they reach a certain stage in their life where everything's all settled and figured out, then they'll help make a difference. The truth of the matter is, we aren't even guaranteed to live for a certain amount of time. Who is to say that we'd even wake up tomorrow morning? That is something that has to be said in order to realize if we were to do something great for humanity, no matter what it is, we must act now instead of making up excuses for later.

There's a huge difference between simply retweeting an image or video of what's happening in Gaza and actually getting up and organizing an effort to help the people of Gaza. These things we see in the news, social media, and maybe even in real life should set us off enough to want to get up and do something other than just talk about it over social media. Anything can help, from fundraising dinners and tournaments, to simply getting a group of friends together to collect items for the homeless. It just takes the right mindset, determination, and intentions. Seeing all these students come together to help out this campaign is inspiring, and I hope it inspires others to do something great as well inshaAllah.