Dec 6, 2016
This was my final day of volunteering for the local soup kitchen. Something unique happened to me as I was walking up the sidewalk to the church today, through the rain and the breeze-riding cold. A short African American man was walking beside me, and he asked me how I was doing. I answered him and we spoke for a little while as we neared the kitchen. I asked him his name. "Gary," he replied. We shook hands, and then I asked him where he was going. He said that he was walking home, and that he was going to change clothes for work. Then he said that first he would get some food at another soup kitchen along the way, and told me, when I revealed that I was a volunteer for the one closer to us, that he would not stay at his kitchen long. He would sit to eat and then get up to leave as soon as he could, for "once I sit down, I don't know if I'm going to want to get back up."
I was busy my last day at the soup kitchen. I brought around the snack basket again, but this time I also carried a crate of socks from which the diners chose their goods. At the end of my final shift, I said good-bye to all of the other volunteers, and to Jan, and told them that I might be back to volunteer in the future. I hope that I did a helpful job well done.
Posted at 02:03 pm by Alex Romano
Dec 2, 2016
Today in the kitchen we made food for the office of aging to be served to the elderly guests there. Again it was just me and one other volunteer but we luckily just made everything on time to bring it over. We made salmon, corn and veggie stir fry, rice, salad, and pumpkin bread. I was actually impressed with the meal in the end it was very nice and full, I kinda wanted to have some when we were serving. It went pretty smoothly and I guess we were supposed to have a delivery of donations that we were gonna have to sort but the girl never brought them. So we had some free time while we waited for things to be done cooking which was a good break because my feet were starting to hurt. Once we were done cooking we put everything in a big bag and cleaned up the kitchen. We then had to bring everything over to the building across the street. We went into the kitchen there and made up plates that people brought out to be served to the elderly folks. They were all very appreciative and we even got christmas cards for going. After everything was served we were free to go and they kept all the leftovers in case people wanted to take any home for family members.
Posted at 06:03 pm by Julia Soares
Today in the kitchen we actually had a lot of work to do. We were making meals for the a program that runs in Glat on campus actually helping adults learn english, however we had some stuff to do cleaning up the kitchen that took up a lot of time as well. We made corn, garlic bread, chicken, and cupcakes. It was only me and one other volunteer but luckily we were pretty efficient and had some down time while things were cooking. We helped to reorganize some shelves that had lots of different types of containers and lids on them which was actually hard because it was very full. We also moved some canned items from one shelf to underneath the table and reorganized some of those. I washed the dishes again which I tend to end up doing every time I go but I actually enjoy it so it was okay. I enjoyed making the cupcakes and decorating them because we were able to put sprinkles on them. Once we put all the food together another volunteer came with his car and took it to deliver it to Glat for serving. We did just a little more cleaning and then we were done. Walking home was very cold and dark, and I will have to remember that for next time.
Posted at 05:55 pm by Julia Soares
Nov 29, 2016
Today I finally got to meet my Little! Her name is Cara* and she is 9 years old in 3rd grade! She has cute strawberry blonde hair with blue streaks in it! Since it was the first time meeting her, I didn't get a lot of in depth information about her life, but I did learn a lot about her. I learned that she has two brothers, one of them is 11 in middle school and that her mom has a boyfriend. I also learned that she loves books about spooky stories. So today we read a book about schools that are haunted. She loved it, it was so cute the see her get so excited about the stories. She read some of the book and I read some of it to her as well. After we read some of the book we decided to do her homework. She only had math homework and she did it very quickly. It asked what 5 x 7 was and I was surprised by how quickly she answered it because I grew up with a little brother who isn't the best at math so it takes him longer. We finished her homework and then finished reading the book. After that she showed me her dolls and we read a book about a fish who got left out. Then after we finished reading that we looked at an I-Spy book which was fun for us to do together. She said things like "Im so stupid" if she couldn't find something which broke my heart. But, I told her she was not stupid and encouraged her to keep looking. Time flew by with Cara today and I can't wait to see her next week again for our Christmas party! I am also looking forward to the rest of the year and hopefully more years to come with her.
Posted at 05:59 pm by livmacdonald
It was a cool, rainy day at the soup kitchen today. The inclement weather, I believe, deterred people from coming in to eat. We had a relatively low number of diners during this shift, which is something of a surprise, as it was voucher day, and I expected that there would be many people wanting to turn in their fully punched cards for the meat and nonperishable item promised to them by the card. Despite the unanticipatedly small turnout, there were still plenty of tasks to handle, but not anything out of the ordinary. I apologize, but I think that I am running out of new things to include in my entries. I will remain vigilant for any unusual occurrences, however, in what few shifts I have left.
Posted at 02:30 pm by Alex Romano
Nov 28, 2016
Today was a very chill and quick day at the kitchen. We were preparing Meals on Wheels again so all we had to do was fill boxes up for individuals. We had to again make sure there was a balanced meal so we had separate types of food to add. We cut up some cake a pies for dessert and put a slice in each. Then we added this potato block thing from Servo in. Last we added meatballs and beans to complete the meal. We had 28 total to be delivered. I then washed the dishes which I have done a lot actually so I got the system down pretty well. There are three separate sinks one for soaping, one for rinsing, and one for sanitizing that we put their weird pill like thing in that disintegrates and we let the cleaned items soak in. I worked with two people I had already worked with which was nice because I was able to have nice conversations with both.
Posted at 06:02 pm by Julia Soares
Nov 22, 2016
On my tenth day and twentieth hour of fulfiiling volunteer work at the soup kitchen, I could confidently count all of the new faces (of which there were very few) from the old faces. One man (whose gruff appearance and ragged white beard urge me to refer to him in private as Nick Notle) received his eighth and final meal punch for the month, and was elated to be able to retrieve a voucher next Tuesday. I had to leave early, as my mother had to pick me up from my residence hall later in the early afternoon, and then I returned home for the first time in almost three consecutive months to try to enjoy the Thanksgiving break.
Posted at 06:40 pm by Alex Romano
Nov 15, 2016
The days that I spend at the soup kitchen have become monotonous, though not displeasingly. Rather, I welcome the monotony. There are no shocks or problems that arise unexpectedly, and I always know what I will be doing each Tuesday I go to volunteer. In that respect, it is a good, comfortable monotony that has provided me with a definite niche in the West Street Soup Group as a sort of odd-jobber with the patience to perform vital outgoing tasks (i.e. bringing around the snack basket, punching people's food vouchers, etc.), while remaining open-minded to laboring over spirit-breaking mundane chores (such as folding napkins and packing them into a cardboard shoe box in the back room FOR HALF AN HOUR STRAIGHT). So today as I made my rounds punching and serving in the dining area, and the sheer monotony of my duties set in, I thought to myself that perhaps the monotony was not such a bad thing.
Posted at 08:41 pm by Alex Romano
Nov 14, 2016
Today was a very chill day at the kitchen. It was only me and one other volunteer (plus our shift leader). Apparently 6 were signed up but it is typical that not everyone shows up. What we did today was basically take left over food from Servo and put it into plastic bags to freeze. The Kitchen gets unserved food form Servo about 2-3 times per week. Sometimes they use the food right away, however they don't always have a plan for the food they receive, in this case they pack it away to use later. Today we were packing away that food that was not going to be directly used. We had to make sure to label the bags with the date and put them into the freezer to restrict them from going bad. After we did that we also had to help take all the meat off of some of the turkeys that were delivered to prepare for this week that is based around Thanksgiving. That took a while separating all the edible parts from the bones. Once that was all finished we cleaned up and I was left to do the dishes. I worked with people I have worked with before and are really starting to get to know some of them well! I've seen some of the shift leaders around campus and always say hi as I pass bye, I really like how small and relaxed the whole process is.
Posted at 05:45 pm by Julia Soares
Nov 13, 2016
Big Brothers Big Sisters Week 3
It happened. The thing that your parents always told you would happen when you were worrying them happened to me this week. I turned into a worried mother. There’s a tire swing on the playground at the elementary school and, after doing some work on multiplication, Allison wanted to go outside and play on it. There are four other little girls in the program and four Bigs. All five girls wanted to play on the swing together. All five Bigs would rather they didn’t; you would’ve thought their moms were there with them. “Not so high, Suzie!” “Hold on, Jane!” “Let me hold that, Lucy!”* For the record, I had good reason to be worried. Allison pushed the tire swing so hard that she fell flat on her back UNDER THE TIRE SWING. Somehow she wasn’t hurt at all and got up before anyone kicked her. She popped up and said, “Not a quitter!” I’d like to take this moment to apologize to my mom because I now know what I put her through. I thought it was a fitting thing for her to say, though. Knowing her background, I know how much she works to be where she is. She is definitely not a quitter. All of that aside, it was a really fun visit and I still really love the program. I was so excited to see Allison after two weeks and I was surprised by how excited she was to see me. She wanted me to eat snack with her so at the end of program we drank the extra cartons of chocolate milk together because Bigs, who are in very different situations than their Littles, don’t need a snack. We have enough food without them. *As in my previous blog posts, all names of participants have been changed. By Emily Reese
Posted at 06:27 pm by campca04