On one of the most beautiful days that Portland has seen during our rainy winter, sixty-six Lewis & Clark students loaded onto a bus and headed out to volunteer at the Oregon Food Bank. We gathered in front of Templeton this past Saturday, February 4th. I had everyone sign in and then we packed onto a school bus. I was the last one on. Our bodies had grown just a bit since those elementary and middle school days when three of us could fit on one bus seat. I hadn’t realized what sixty-six grown adults looked like crowded onto a school bus.
There were friends sitting on laps of others, people squeezed into the aisles. I was astonished that so many people had showed up on a day when the sun’s glorious rays called our names. After the bus ride, we stepped off the bus and into the halls of one of the biggest non-profit organizations in the state of Oregon. In the last year, volunteers contributed 93,000 hours to the Oregon Food Bank, which is the equivalent of 45 full-time employees. Volunteers are essential to the functioning of any non-profit, as it saves them time, resources, and promotes community involvement.
We spent two hours packaging rice into plastic bags that included bilingual instructions on how to cook the rice. These bags would then go into emergency food boxes for families or individuals in need. Overall, we packed an incredible amount of rice, and I had an excellent time meeting new people. I witnessed two teams who were working side-by-side competing for how fast they could fill 100 bags. I don’t know who won, but the excitement and enthusiasm was contagious.
Thanks to everyone who came out this past Saturday for making it such a successful day! Look out for the next Saturday in Service. We are going to Zenger Farm on March 10th from 1:00 to 3:30. I look forward to another day of new connections and engagement off campus!