Editor’s Note

By Jackie Orozco

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for all the food you are blessed with and for being able to spend some quality time with your family.

My parents have always taught me to never be wasteful and appreciate the food you are given. If my mom or dad ever saw me pushing my vegetables aside or throwing them away and then getting up from the dinner table they would grab my wrist and sit me back down.

My dad would yell, “I want to see that plate spic and span or else you’re going to get it!”

In fear of getting a beating, I would eat everything and even ask for a second serving just to force myself to like all types of their food.

As a first generation child going to college in the U.S., my parents have taught me to appreciate everything in life. Every time I hear one of my dad’s depressing stories on how he struggled in life to get where he is now, it makes me rethink about what I do and avoid taking life’s simplest things for granted, like food.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
Thank you for subscribing!

He said growing up in Mexico was hard because his parents worked endlessly just to make ends meet for their 9 children. That is why my dad said he has been working to help his family ever since he was 7 years old. Even today he can remember perfectly the days he would walk around town and sell his mom’s homemade candy just so he could have some money to help her buy tortillas for dinner.

Listening and reliving my parents’ past hardships have taught my brothers, my sister and myself to feel blessed and thankful of what we have now-ample amounts of food, a two-story house and the opportunity to afford college. You can say we live comfortably as a high middle class family but we never forget how we got here.

Like my dad, I have been working since I was 16. I would have been working earlier but it is illegal to have seven year olds working in the United States. My dad wanted me to know how hard you have to work to earn yourself some money.

When I came to the University of Illinois, I worked at the Pennsylvania Avenue Residence Hall’s Dining Service. I was overwhelmed with all the buffet options we had. Unfortunately, I was among the few who would serve what I can actually eat on my plate.

This is my third year working at PAR and I still think it is depressing when I see students overflow their plates with piles of food thinking they can finish everything. Those students who just take a couple of bites of their meals and throw away the majority of what’s left on their plates don’t know how lucky they are to have food at their disposal. It really bothers me when I see people wasting food because there are thousands of hungry families in the world who are dying because they don’t have enough food to eat. Some students simply don’t care, or they are spoiled. They think they will always have food available to them whenever they’re hungry, but they should not think like that.

Maybe it’s just me and how my parents taught me to appreciate what we have and not be wasteful, but those people who don’t care should take the time and think about those who are dying of starvation.

This is why I really do give “thanks” for what my parents have provided my family, and I never take things for granted. Even now, I still leave my plate spic and span, even though my dad is not always by my side to make sure I eat everything I serve on my plate.

Jackie Orozco is the Supplements Editor and a junior in Communications. She can be reached at [email protected].