Jack is a college student who helps run his family’s NGO, Suji Love, which provides food to area families in need. KIS partners with Suji Love to host food drives, and our service interns volunteer to organize food for distribution. When Jack came on campus to talk with students about Suji Love work, he was kind enough to share his story too.
Suji Love started when Kisook saw a need in her community and decided to meet that need as best she could. In 2004, Kisook invited other women she knew to help cook and gather food for neighborhood families in need. At first, the names and families of those in need came by word of mouth. As neighbors looked out for one another, Kisook noted which families seemed most in need of food assistance or medical help. Kisook started visiting families and made a list of those she and her friends could support, and Kisook’s husband, Sekyeong, began volunteering alongside his wife to organize holiday parties for neighborhood children.
Recognizing the growth of her service work, Kisook established Suji Love as a nonprofit in 2007, and began offering donation receipts in 2013. Now fifteen years later, Suji Love helps feed sixty families each month. Suji Love collects food and money donations to distribute groceries to people who cannot afford to buy all they need. Each month student volunteers meet to package and organize food for delivery to Suji households. Area schools hold food drives to help stock the Suji Love pantry. And Suji Love is now hoping to expand its aid to other families in Yongin.
Watching Kisook through the first years of providing food in her community was her son, Jonghoon, or Jack. When his mother began serving needy in their community, Jack didn’t fully appreciate the sacrifice his family made. Jack heard his mother talk about the poor children in Suji, but what he felt was annoyed that her work meant he couldn’t have the latest technology or coolest pair of shoes. But when Jack started accompanying his mother on her trips around the Suji neighborhood, he understood the real need of people. Jack says, “I saw their homes. Some people just need the basic needs for food or school. Some people are poor, some are rich, and I’m in the middle. But when I saw the poor I understood they need help.”
Jack has picked up the work his mother established. In recent years as Kisook’s health is poor, Jack chose to continue developing Suji Love. He knows the need is still present. When KIS began its food drives, Suji Love could serve more families. And there are more families in need yet. Now Jack believes this will be work he continues for the rest of his life.
“So many people suffer,” Jack says, “We need to help with what we have.”
Suji Love works alongside the government to determine which families are in the most need, and to provide food or medical expenses to those families for one, two or even four or five years as children go through school. Alleviating the cost of food helps families afford schooling expenses. Now Jack is hoping to expand the program to Yongin and Suwon. He knows that raising awareness of need is important for the whole community. Sometimes need is hidden. Suji Love seeks to see and meet families’ needs.
KIS proudly partners with Suji Love and encourages you to learn more about the organization. Check out the Suji Love Naver cafe, or contact Andrew Kennedy at KIS.