Serving the community one operation at a time

Maya Palavali, Staff Writer

Though June 5. of this year may have been a normal day to most, for a small group of students, it was a start for a volunteer organization that would change their lives. 

Volunteering is not an uncommon activity to participate in, and it is one many teenagers get involved in. Knowing this, Coppell High School junior Dilan Patel and Lewisville High School junior Meghana Chinta wanted to reinvent the idea of helping others. 

It started off simple. 

“The idea started like one or two years ago,” Chinta said. “I know that a year ago we started the idea, but our first Zoom meeting, when we got everyone together, was [later on].”

It was then when they decided to name their volunteering organization Operation Serve DFW. The idea behind the name was to make it easy to convey the purpose of the project: to help the Dallas-Fort Worth area by doing community service

wherever it is needed. The reason they decided to do little projects was to have a lasting impact on others.

“We want to make small changes,” Chinta said. “[We want to] create a ripple effect across the community.”

The start of the club was with a small group of juniors.

 “We’re all friends,” CHS junior Jiya Patel said. “It kind of started off like [a normal friend circle hanging out while volunteering]; one idea has to start with a group of people and take off from there.” 

With the club and members established, the group began to work on its first project: conducting a clothing drive in the farmer’s market. Chinta and Patel look back fondly on their memories of the day.

 “The clothing drive was actually really fun,” Chinta said. “We all went to the farmer’s market at 7 a.m. and we stayed until 1 p.m. The people were so nice there, they were thanking us, and people came back to give clothes. It was a really good first experience..”

Fueled by a successful outcome, Patel and Chinta worked together with their team to start multiple new projects. A particular project was one that touched the hearts of their members: making specialized care packages for the people who worked in the cafeteria of a senior center.

 “There are a lot [of projects we are proud of, but] it’s probably the one where we made care packages for the senior center,” Chinta said. “Their reactions were so heartwarming and it made us feel really good about it.” 

The projects connect back to the club officers on a deeper level.

“We chose to give it to the people who work in the cafeteria for lunch,” Patel said. “They are not really appreciated, [Chinta] and I used to work there and so we know the conditions; it’s not horrible but they just appreciated the effort and it was [amazing].” 

Since, the group has expanded along with its members and projects. It went from a few people to around 40 members in the matter of months. 

“I would love for it to grow big,” Chinta said. “Obviously we would need to cater towards that, make changes because more people means more resources; we need to

If everyone is trying to help the community, that’s how the world does get better.

— Meghana Chinta

make sure it’s more efficient.” 

The established goal is more than 100 new members by the end of their graduating year, 2023.

What sets Operation Serve DFW apart is its willingness to help everyone they come across. Just recently, a friend reached out to Chinta about starting a volunteer organization of their own, and Chinta eagerly helped them out, despite having her own club to focus on.

 “I know some people [view organizations as] a competition, but to me I feel that if we’re all doing the same thing, it doesn’t matter who is doing it as long as it’s being done,” Chinta said. “If everyone is trying to help the community, that’s how the world does get better.” 

The members have grown closer with each other as the club has blossomed. 

“I’m not going to lie and say that it’s perfect,” Chinta said. “I know in the beginning we did have some communication issues.” 

Instead of letting these problems fester, the team worked together to solve differences and were able to come up stronger as a result. 

Operation Serve DFW has worked towards being more inclusive to its projects and its members. Overtime, a wide range of people from different backgrounds will be able to come together to do community services. 

“I want them to know that we are open to anybody,” Chinta said. “[We are] accepting of everybody.”

Follow Maya Palavali (@mvpalovalley) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.