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Red- Eye /ˈred ˌī/ is defined as an overnight or late-night flight on a commercial airline. Also defined as a morning person's worse nightmare. I don't know about you but the thought of working overnight just always seems like a form of torture. Before becoming a flight attendant I worked in the ER overnight for four years; 7 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. , three nights a week. For four years , everyone would tell me my body would get used to it and I would learn to love it. After four years guess what happened? I still hated it. For me, it's not normal and my body never adjusted. Even more exhausting was trying to catch up on the sleep I missed on my days off as well as trying to allow my body to adjust into a normal sleeping pattern only to have to do it all over again the next week. Working as a new flight attendant , with not much control , initially, on what kind of flights I fly ; I knew the probability of being assigned a red eye flight was extremely high. After a year and some change , and a tiny bit of seniority under my belt , I am able to avoid red eyes like the plague! That was until we were introduced to the new flight route , attached to a 24 hour layover into the city of Philadelphia ! The catch ? You guessed it . It is a trip that involves a red eye flight (Face Palm).

Of course anything worth having has to be worked for so I had to thug it out. Every flight and crew are different but what makes the flight even more magical is working with someone you know and have a friendship with . Thankfully, my classmate from training decided to join this trip with me and agreed to be my exploring buddy. We both were determined to get through the night and make it to the other side of the rainbow into these Philly streets lol. I decided I would take advantage of my 24 hours and fill it with fly eats , fly views and of course some fly giving. Philabundance was the location that I had the pleasure of lending my hand to.

Philabundance is an organization dedicated to minimizing ( hopefully one day end ) the epidemic of hunger which plagues the United States and countries around the world. Created in 1984 , Philabundance's mantra is " that no man , woman or child should go hungry". Ideally , it would be a belief important enough to our communities and government to come together to end such a global issue. Organizations such as Philabundance spearhead the war on hunger and present the words and action behind them . Amazingly , they serve 9 counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey , including Philadelphia , Delaware , Western Burlington , Montgomery , Bucks , Camden , Gloucester and Salem. Members of Feeding America , they are a food bank providing food to 90,000 people per week. Philabundance has two locations , the main office and hunger relief center located on Galloway Street and one on Berks Street in Philadelphia. allows a user friendly registration process where the different opportunities are listed per week providing information on the location , event details and number of volunteers needed per project. I registered for the Berks Warehouse Help in the afternoon , 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm . When I arrived there was one other woman waiting to begin. She opened up to me about her commitment to volunteering with Philabundance and she actually manages her time between the Berks Street location and the location in South Philadelphia. We we were welcomed into the warehouse where I was able to view the various rows of donated canned goods and perishable/nonperishable items. I was amazed by the amount of food they held and could envision the thousands of people who will benefit from this particular food bank.

I was excited to find out what my tasks would be! In my mind , I would be knee deep in packaging food to distribute and even possibly be distributing some of the donated foods available. The thing about expectations , they are not always met. My expectations and reality couldn't have been further apart. My volunteer mind was used to a type of productivity that involves interaction with many people and being so busy with large groups that the time passes by without any awareness. My task of the day was simply to sweep around the warehouse and clean areas where the food was kept. I can't lie , I thought in my mind "that's it?" and then my mind answered, "that's it" lol. There wasn't much they needed from me mainly because the morning shift had covered a lot of the work required before I arrived. The woman I met earlier decided she wasn't going to "just sweep" and I definitely thought why should I stay as well. Yet I reminded myself there was a purpose for me to come and to be honest, there's no guideline as to what volunteer experience you would have each time. So I picked up my broom and found the dustiest corner and began going to work.

Alone in my duty, I zoned into what needed to be done and had a soundtrack of motivating hits to keep me going and lip-sync to. I thought, " if I'm going to clean a warehouse by myself, I'm gonna make it look sexy" ( In my Kendrick Lamar voice) . This type of fly giving was new to me but it couldn't have been more appropriate. The day allowed me to focus on a small gesture (in my mind) that will benefit the bigger picture. This warehouse houses loads of food that will fill the homes of people who really need and appreciate the work and hearts of those involved with Philabundance. It reminded me that volunteering is truly not about instant gratification. The truth is any form of gratification from someone else may never come. The act of giving yourself is not about the pat on the back from someone else or the banner that reminds you how great you are for taking the time out. The act of giving is about fulfilling a part of you by giving yourself to someone else or to an organization that needs your assets , your presence and really your heart. For me , each selfless act provides insight into my own life and reminds me of the bigger world out there that doesn't revolve around just me ! The day with Philabundance allowed me to indulge in a service that cleaned up the warehouse but also allow me to reflect and feel grateful for all my blessings and the abundance in my own life.

So all my Philly natives and visitors alike , head over to their website and find a day to give a piece of yourself and gain an abundant day for you and the community!

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