As we get ready for our 4th Annual Capital District High School Hunger Games, having all these schools involved has reminded me why I love to volunteer.

On Monday we will kick off our annual food drive presented by SEFCU for the Food Pantries For the Capital District. 10 local high schools will be participating, and a bunch of great local kids will help to feed the hungry in the Capital Region in the coming months and beyond.

As we have been preparing for this event, I have been thinking about why you and I volunteer and help others. And I think it comes down to one thing: no matter how independent we are, no matter how proud we are that we do something on our own, there is some moment or many moments in life where we have leaned on someone for help. We all know how it feels to need a helping hand in a difficult moment or period in life, and we can recognize and appreciate that need in others. It's part of being human. I think that is why it is so rewarding on a personal level when we help others: we know how it feels to be on the other side and we know the burden that can be lifted by a helping hand.

I have seen this so many times over the years: working with St. Jude, the American Heart Association, food banks and so many other great organizations: everyone who volunteers and offers support on any level recognizes the basic idea that life is a little easier when you have other people by your side on this crazy journey. We are all in LIFE together. That's why I volunteer, and it's pretty cool to live in a region with a great group of kids who already recognize this too. Here's to another great Capital District Hunger Games!