by Ava Helmer ’19
Martha’s Table is a food bank that provides classroom spaces for teaching children ages 1-4, and has a kitchen that makes food for 200+ people by sending a free food truck to two locations in the city. We were put to work in the kitchen, which was large clean space. Tammy and Kenzie cut zucchini, Chris and Charlotte pruned broccoli, Anisgul chopped tomatoes, and I started on mincing around 50 cloves of garlic. Having previous experience in food prep from a summer job, I finished the garlic in about 10 minutes. I then moved to the first onion of many. After doing another task in a different room, I then returned to the room where everyone was chopping. All 5 people in our group were simultaneously cutting onions, and as soon as I entered the room I bust into tears from the onion juice. Everyone in the room was balling and sniffing from the sheer amount of cut onions. We prepared and packed tins that would later be given to anyone who needed a meal.
by Josh Saskin ’19
Today we woke up at 6:00 to go to Reading Partners at Seaton Elementary. Welcomed by a volunteer for the program, we learned about the basics of the curriculum and had a crash course in how to go about tutoring the children. My first student was Eliana, a kindergartner who did not seem to want to participate at first, but became more open after we discussed our mutual love for cats and tacos. Later, I had Brandon, another kindergartner. Brandon did not like to respond in English, and when he wasn’t calling me a poop, he answered my questions in Spanish. Each of our group members had 4-5 students, which was definitely way more than we had initially anticipated after hearing from other GS students on the trip who had been there yesterday. After we left the school, we headed to the national mall, where we met up with the other group for lunch at the line of food trucks. From there, we took the metro back to the church for our final YSOP dinner. Tonight we made breakfast for dinner, and I could tell that our group was much more comfortable with taking control in the kitchen. At my table, I met some nice students from NYU who were there on an alternative spring break. I enjoyed talking to Sarah, a first year grad student who majored in international relations and minored in Mandarin. I joked with her that despite being best friends with someone who was Chinese for the past four years, I could barely hold 30 seconds of conversation. At the dinner, my table played Uno with Tish and chess with Rob. I enjoyed the final dinner reflection as well, because we tried to make a word cloud using our 5 words that come to mind when thinking back on the last two weeks. Among the most common words were joy, community, humble, and respect. On our way home, I realized that we’re in the final leg of the trip, and I’m sad to be done with the dinners. While at first I focused on the fact that they were tiring, I now look back on them with gratitude and appreciation.