by Sam M.
At the end of the shift we wash our hands again, wash the floor again and enjoy a surprise meal. We will be back tomorrow to help prepare another meal.
by Bre, Darrell, and Omar
This week we are alternating between Bread for the City organization in the Northwest and Southeast. While feeding over 1,200 hungry people a day throughout the city, Bread for the City also runs an internship program that teaches food preparation and service. After washing up we prepared several bushels of green beans for the next day’s meal. We also learned how bread pudding and cinnamon buns were made for hundreds of dietetic non-restricted guests. We must have washed our hands a half dozen times. Every time you touch your phone or your hair, ear, nose, etc…you change your glove(s). OK. Time to turn off our phones!
by Sam, Ava, and Melissa
At the end of our time with the Youth Services Opportunity Program we brainstormed ways that we might continue to raise awareness of hunger in America and people experiencing homelessness. Melissa, Darrell, Kaelan, and Ava presented their ideas to the group. They answered follow-up questions and fleshed out their ideas. YSOP representatives will check with us in a month to see if any of our ideas were enacted.
Even with the large amount of food that comes into hunger facilities throughout the city, there are still those in need. The sorting of donations continues daily. Bre,Pete,Omar,Jaime, and Kaelen worked for hours. More palates will be waiting tomorrow.
by Kevin Davis
We went to Safeway to buy food for lunch and dinner. We were happy to have a few hours to ourselves and excited to cook together but it’s not the same. We are now more observant. People experiencing homelessness are not as invisible to us as they once were. Akshay, Pete, and Darrell started a conversation with this man in his wheelchair. He had been waiting months to get housing and he got the news today that he has a wheelchair accessible apartment. Like many people experiencing homelessness, he had to make hard decisions about how to allocate his resources. The WIC program and several of the programs that we are doing service with supply him with staples but not enough meat or fresh fruit. Through the kindness of strangers, he was able to get enough meat for the week. We cannot imagine living this life. We realize how fortunate we are to be able to buy food when we are hungry.
by Kevin and Kim
Today, Green group traveled to the Central Union Mission. The Central Union Mission in North West Washington DC operates, among other things, an eighteen-month rehabilitation program and a free meals program for men who are experiencing homelessness. Omar, Bre, Peter, and Jaime served one hundred plus men, sandwiches and soup during the lunch rush.
The White group served at the Capital Area Food Bank. The Capital Area Food Bank is the largest public nonprofit hunger and nutrition education resource in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. The group sorted pallets of produce, baby food, and canned foods for redistribution.
“We played a few board games with them and welcomed any conversation that they were willing to have with us. Later we took their food and drink orders. Once they were served, we sat with them talked and did a lot of listening. The last of the guests left at 8:00 p.m. and we cleaned the Community Hall and reflected on the experience. A lot of misconceptions and stereotypes were laid to rest tonight and a clearer understanding of what causes people to experience homelessness were appreciated.”
by Kevin and Kim
Green group served at Food & Friend. We helped this organization prepare meals for home delivery. Food & Friends cares for people living with HIV/Aids, cancer, and other illnesses. Today we packed 250 meals for a variety of individuals with various health restrictions. We worked non-stop to get the job done because many of the drivers are volunteers with windows of time in their schedule to make the deliveries. It was rewarding to have helped make it an easier day for a few families.
White group served at Seabury Resources for the Aging.
Seabury is in great need. They have recently gone from three full-time employees to one part-time person. Seabury Resources helps individuals who want to stay in their homes to do so. We helped a client maintain their home today so that they would not be evicted. White team trimmed hedges, racked mounds of leaves, cleaned the bathroom, cut the grass, washed windows, and cleaned the kitchen.
Ava wrote: “I really enjoyed working with Seabury because our volunteer coordinator, Rachel, was so full of energy, and our client, Ms. Hodges, was so appreciative.”
After a short break, both groups returned to YSOP at 4:00 p.m. for a client dinner orientation and lesson in food preparation. We prepared food for approximately sixty-five guests who are experiencing homelessness. At 6:00p.m. the guests began to arrive. We played a few board games with them and welcomed any conversation that they were willing to have with us. Later we took their food and drink orders. Once they were served, we sat with them talked and did a lot of listening. The last of the guests left at 8:00p.m. and we cleaned the Community Hall and reflected on the experience. A lot of misconceptions and stereotypes were laid to rest tonight and a clearer understanding of what causes people to experience homelessness were appreciated.
Leaving on the Megabus for our DC service trip. We arrived and attended orientation at Youth Services Opportunities Program of Washington DC. Here are some photos!
by Kevin and Kim
We split evenly into two groups to begin our time of service. Kevin’s group (green) went to Martha’s Table (Outfitters) and Kim’s group (white) went to Iona Senior Services.
Martha’s Table Outfitters is a clothing center that provides free and low cost clothing, linen, toiletries to those in need. The organization also provides children with nutritious meals, supervised literacy activities. We accepted donations of clothing, shoes, kitchenware, and books. We dressed manikins, and kept the racks stocked and the floors clear of debris. We directed clients to their needs, answered their questions and bagged their purchases. It was a good and exhausting day of service.
Iona Senior Services Mission supports seniors as they experience the challenges of aging. They educate, advocate, and provide community-based programs and services. Kim’s group Helped at the Farmers Market. They helped the residents select their portion of the day’s fresh produce and bag them to take home. They also enjoyed participating in an exercise class with the seniors, helping to prepare lunch or just providing companionship to some of the clients that live in the building.
At the end of our first day of work we met in the YSOP Community Hall to hear guest speakers Monica Kamen, an advocacy coordinator with the Fair Budget Coalition.
“I appreciated Iona’s service because it gave me the opportunity to work with people experiencing homelessness directly and help them experience the same opportunities as everyone else.”
“It was very special to hear stories of people from Latin Communities.”