Today was our last day at God’s Love We Deliver and we were all really sad about it. We all had so much fun with the staff and other volunteers there and the cause is such a great concept. We helped pack-out again today, meaning we packaged the food to be delivered on Monday to the clients. Also, we chopped more turnips and carrots. After our delicious lunch, which we helped prepare the other day, we did walking deliveries to people living in the Soho area. We delivered to a house right across from Sandra Bullock’s house! The people were so appreciative and friendly. One older woman greeted us at the elevator to get her food. I will greatly miss this organization and Rethna and I are going to try to volunteer at their sister organization in Philly this summer together to continue doing our part to help out this awesome place.
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Today was the best day of the New York Alternative School break trip so far in my opinion. I was so impressed with everyone today and they have shown me how they are all leaders in their own way.
The first person I met was a college graduate who decided to volunteer again after six years. I thought that the organization must have made a serious impression if he was volunteering regularly again. I started cutting carrots and onions and with my team, we cut up over 150 pounds of carrots and 200 onions. It was so rewarding to see all that food cut up by our team and how it will feed the 1,600 clients the organization has on their list.
The lunches were the meals the organization serves their clients who are immuno-compromised. They were delicious! It was so much different than I pictured. For the second shift, our teams broke up into groups and were working on different things. Lindsay, Ariel, Hannah, Alex, and Jess wrapped 1,600 whole grain rolls in plastic wrap and filled up boxes with it. We then joined the rest of our team and cut up the mushrooms and potatoes. Bridget and Tracy worked on desserts and met some interesting volunteers, It was great to see how people of all backgrounds found something in this cause and were sticking with it. The kitchen was decorated with tiles with numerous named printed on them with red hearts, making the whole place warmer and more welcoming. One could really see the lives of the people this organization has touched and I was honored to be a part of that.
Although we were unsure of what to expect, our accomodations are great (other than the four flights of stairs!). We have a private room with 5 bunk beds, and two shared bathrooms on the floor. The lounge is in the basement, and we have access to kitchen facilities. Everything is very clean as well. We’re just a half block from our subway stop, which makes our commute to God’s Love very convenient!
What an exhausting and exhilarating day!! Maybe that sounds like a contradictive description, but hopefully I can help you to understand with this entry!
Once again, ASB New York boarded the subway, bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready for an exciting day! Not too long after, we arrived at the door step of God’s Love We Deliver.
We were given an amazingly welcoming introduction to the facility and the daily runnings of the organization. Before we boarded the elevator down to the kitchens, we donned lovely lunch lady-esk hair nets. After a very short look around, we were instructed to pull up our sleeves, sanitize up to our elbows and put on an apron to top off the outfit. It was hard not to be immediately infected by the amazing energy pulsing through the kitchen, and we were all ready and excited!
Right away we were thrown in to the pack of the “regular” Tuesday group helping in the mass production of a warm and healthy beef stew. Some of us were instructed to spread the beef out on massive cooking sheets, while others started off peeling and chopping 150 pounds of carrots!! Needless to say, we got our hands dirty quick!
The kitchen staff did an amazing job of mobilizing the huge task force that was both our group and those that were normal attendees. As soon as one job was done, we were already being briefed and moved to our next one. At one point, almost the whole kitchen was dedicated to chopping up onions. Soon enough all the airspace was filled with the relentless juice of onions, making all of us tear up for quite some time. But of course! ASB NYC made it through to lunch!
We were provided lunch by God’s Love, so we got the chance to experience the meals that get delivered to the terminally ill every day. Each meal is specifically catered to the illness of each client, and we were all incredibly surprised at how tasty they were! It was great to know that we were huge contributors to this amazing project!
After lunch, we started shift two with a new set of volunteers and a new kitchen staff. Our first monumental task was wrapping over 1600 rolls! That is when we were able to get a real feel for exactly how many people we were impacting with our service. We also took part in a kitchen wide mushroom and potato chop, as well as mixing salads, unloading the huge cookers of beef, and draining industrial sized cans of olives! Never for a moment were we tired or bored, because there was never a moment of stillness!!
Now hopefully you understand what I mean by exhausting and exhilarating. :)
With only a few blisters and a minor cut to the finger, we left God’s Love full of joy!! We are excited to return tomorrow, when half of us will go to deliver the 3000!!!! meals, and the rest will continue with our adventures in the kitchen!
Today we experienced our first day at God’s Love We Deliver, and what a productive day it was! After a brief introduction to the organization and the kitchen rules, we got right to work. Armed with cutting boards and 12″ chef knives (yikes!), we peeled 150 lbs of carrots, chopped 150 lbs of potatoes, and got teary-eyed over too many onions to count!
This morning everyone was so eager to volunteer. Once we got to the church and we realized that the day of service was not what we planed, no one’s enthusiasm diminished. It was incredible just to watch the other volunteers work. They were so efficient and worked very well together. I can’t wait till we are able to be do service and work with one another in a similar fashion. We then went downstairs and saw the boxes of food. It was incredible to see all the cans of tomato paste and other items packed in such a small area. It was interesting to see all the aspects of the operation; the food stock, the people who were using the church’s services, the volunteers, and the volunteer coordinator.
Later that day we went on a walking tour of Seneca Village, which used to be where central park is located. We learned a lot of history on the tour but more importantly we were reminded of a lot of facts. The tour guide reminded us about the discrimination the African Americans faced in regards to owning a home and voting. This discrimination accounts for some of the poverty people face today. It was interesting to see how certain laws could affect so many people and in such a way for such a long time.
I can’t wait to actually volunteer tomorrow. It will be great to put a face on the operation we have spent so long talking about. As we did reflection tonight everyone seemed so excited and pumped for tomorrow.
(1-17) Last night, before we settled down, Tracy, our reflections leader, took us through an exercise to identify our expectations and goals for the week. After our discussion, this was my synopsis of the themes and goals for our service:
We tend to live our lives looking ahead to the next step, rather than enjoying the step that we are on now. Starting on this trip and carrying on, we hope to apply a different mindset in our lives. IMMERSE: soak up the sights, stories and experiences. UNDERSTAND: have the conversation and make the connections. REMEMBER: keep the memories with you, and relive them frequently. CHANGE: apply the morals that you learn to your everyday life. BE WHOLE: take your whole self with you on every journey.
(1-18) Bright and early, we donned our jackets and boots to head out for Day 1 of our service project. After a short trip to the Lower East Side, ASB New York got to practice our Gumby-esk flexibility when we arrived at our first day of service only to find our hands were not needed. Due to miscommunication and the eagerness of citizens to get out and serve on MLK Day we were met by a bustling kitchen far too full of gloved and hair netted volunteers.
Feeling a bit out of place and stranded, we retreated to a near by coffee shop for some research and quick thinking. We discussed the possibility of calling around to see if we could lend our hands elsewhere, but came to the conclusion that this was not a good practice of service considering the size of our group and the incredibly short notice.
Instead we made our way towards Union Square Park where we thought we could surely find something interesting and productive to do with our time. After scoping out a few local newsletters and books, we decided to tour a few more parks. As we came up on Washington Square Park, the weather cleared up quite nicely and we were able to soak up the sun in the fountain that usually spurts water when the season permits.
With the knowledge of a tour around Central Park, we took the subway back up town and met up with a group touring what once was Seneca Village. In light of MLK Day, we learned of the origins of the Village and the importance it had on the rights of blacks in the community.
Luckily, we were graced with yet another beautiful day to be out of work and we now regroup before moving on.
ASB New York