Where I went:
Beaverton School District provides lunches for kids ages 0-18 for the summer months while school is out. On Saturdays, St. Matthew Lutheran Church’s ministry “Faith Cafe” subsidizes lunches for adults with children as well.
The following is a press release explaining the program:
Our church, Kaleo Covenant, committed to staffing one elementary school every Saturday this summer with volunteers. Faith Cafe helpers prepare the lunches at St Matthew Lutheran Church in the morning. Dave, church volunteer extraordinaire and the man behind St. Matthew’s Faith Cafe, packs up a moving truck and delivers coolers full of bagged lunches and milk along with tables, tents, and toys to three Beaverton elementary schools each Saturday. Kelvin, a recent college graduate with a heart of gold, is the site manager for the school Kaleo will be volunteering with this summer.
|Dave is in here.|
A decade ago, I was St. Matthew Lutheran Church’s youth minister. (Kelvin was one of my junior high kids). When I started this “nature of a servant” challenge in January, I contacted St. Matthew to offer my volunteer hours. My family and I were trained right away as a delivery team for the church food pantry. But Church Volunteer Extraordinaire, Dave, responded with another request.
Dave told me about the Faith Cafe and the Beaverton School District partnership in serving summer lunches. He asked if I’d be willing to talk to my church about providing volunteers each week for one school. I set up a volunteer calendar, inviting not only our church to help, but sending the invitation out to my friends as well.
This week was the second time I served sack lunches to school kids and their families. The first Saturday I helped, the weather was warm and 2 hours outside felt heavenly. This week, rain dominated the forecast. I looked forward to helping out. I did not look forward to being wet.
Each Saturday requires 3-6 volunteers ages 12+. Younger children are encouraged to help, but there needs to be enough manpower for propping up tables and lifting sandwich-board advertisements. This week, my 12 year old daughter and I volunteered with my friend Laurie and her teenage sons.
|The 13 yr. old, Laurie, Kelvin, and the 12 yr. old.|
We arrived at 11:00 am and the boys immediately began pounding in stakes for the rope barrier. Lunch guests are required to consume sandwiches and milk within the barrier per health code restrictions. No one wants to be responsible for a kid drinking spoiled milk. If families eat their lunch onsite, we can monitor food safety.
Laurie and Kelvin set up tables and signs while my daughter set up the play area; a tent with books, coloring pages, toys, and sports equipment.
Where was I while others performed manual labor? I had to find a bathroom. (And yes, I did go before I left. I just had a lot of coffee that morning.)
What I did find out is that there is no open restroom on site. I got in the car and drove until I found a public bathroom at nearby Costco. Note for next time: a normal 5 minute trip to Costco takes triple that time on a Saturday.
At 11:30, people started to arrive and so did the rain. Families ate their lunches under the play area canopy and under a large tree providing shelter. Some kids arrived on bikes, some families walked over from the surrounding neighborhoods, and some parents drove their kids over.
|The 16 yr. old keeping others entertained
The 12 yr. old “photo bombing” the shot.
One mother arrived with her teen son and 2 young girls. I welcomed them over and peered into their minivan that was most likely also their home. I helped the little ones with their hand washing and wished I could offer them a shower or some warmer clothes. That afternoon, we could only provide a ham sandwich, baby carrots, and some milk. And it was probably their only meal for the day.
|Handing out the food|
The rain stopped and the families played. Moms grabbed hula hoops and toddlers chased after bubbles. It reminded me of a huge yard party. The afternoon felt less like a server/servee relationship and more like a gathering of friends.
How To Help:
Volunteers are needed for each of the many sites in the area. If you’d like to participate, see the Beaverton School District website for locations and hours or comment below and I will help you find the ideal place to serve.