Day Two with Community Servings

Today was our second day of service with Community Servings! We arrived early today, washed up, and were immediately put to work. While yesterday morning’s task was chopping vegetables, the first part of today was devoted to pies. In an assembly-line style setup, one person would cut a pie, the second would scoop the slices into containers, and a third would seal each individual container.

Although many of the kitchen duties are mechanical enough not to require mental engagement, the pies were an exception: it took a great deal of concentration to make sure that each slice came out looking presentable and not crumbled or dilapidated. As I produced serving after individual serving of pie, I reflected on the other end of our process. Although the appearance of a piece of pie does not affect its taste, the presentation of the meals that we prepare certainly has a psychological effect on the clients who receive them. By taking special care to make sure that each slice is visually appealing, we were making an important impact on Community Servings’ client base. Even though we have not had direct contact with the clients, in this way, I was able to feel connected to them.

Throughout the day, I had the opportunity to meet several of the other volunteers working in the kitchen, including a local priest who comes to the kitchen twice a month and a student completing requirements for a degree in nutrition. These encounters were both interesting in themselves and a refreshing reminder of all that exists outside the college “bubble.” There is a multitude of reasons why people from all backgrounds and walks of life devote themselves to service like that which were are performing at Community Servings, and yet within the realm of the kitchen, we are all on an equal playing field.

After dinner and reflection, most of us headed out to downtown Boston for a scavenger hunt! We split into the two teams and raced to complete tasks including taking photos with monuments, hugging and dancing with strangers, performing in T stations, and even proposing marriage! Overall, we bonded as a group, explored the city, and came to realize how friendly and accepting the people of Boston can be.

The time is already passing so quickly- it’s hard to believe that our service is almost halfway done! I look forward to the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

Pre-Trip Reflection

This semester has been flying by- it’s already spring break! I remember marking this trip on my calendar months ago, when it seemed impossibly far away.

I entered the program knowing virtually nothing about our topic or the town of Asheville, but I’ve learned quite a bit during our pre-trip group meetings and activities. The issue of environmental justice is and will continue to be relevant to many people’s lives, and I look forward to experiencing it hands-on. I’m definitely very excited to meet the people involved with Green Opportunities and the West North Carolina Alliance and to gain a clearer idea of exactly what our service will involve.

Last Saturday morning, our team completed pre-service by helping out in the garden at 1075 Lehigh Drive. While this was somewhat last-minute, participating in ASB-related service a week before the actual trip built up my level of anticipation for the trip. It was a great way to connect with nature, make a tangible difference, and gain perspective, especially since I had never been to the West Ward before. On that day and during the twelve-hour drive here, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know several members of the team, and I look forward to even more team bonding through reflection and throughout the trip.

After our cultural day tomorrow, service will start! This week is sure to be a cultural, educational, and fun experience :-)