Today the volunteers spent the day at Mary’s Place. Mary’s Place “provides safe, inclusive shelter and services that support women, children and families on their journey out of homelessness. Across nine emergency family shelters in King County, we keep struggling families together, inside, and safe when they have no place else to go providing shelter, services, resources, community, and hope.” The PVs spent their volunteer day helping to sort through two huge bins of donations that were then sorted further so that they could be distributed to those who needed them throughout Mary’s Place’s shelters.
Later in the evening we gathered together to share a meal together and show our gratitude for a great week of volunteer service. We want to thank the volunteers who took part in the week for all their time, flexibility and enthusiasm each and every day. We couldn’t have done in it without you! Year seven of the PV Volunteer Week was a success because of you!!!
Last night, PVs went out with the Union Gospel Mission on one of their Search and Rescue vans, this time in Burien and Des Moines. The “Outreach and Search & Rescue teams go out, day and night, 365 days a year, to search out and find those who are homeless, hungry, and hurting. We get to know them. We remember their names. We listen to their stories. We meet them where they are with essential supplies to make it through another day and night. And we invite them inside. ” It is always an eye-opening experience for us to take park in one of these nights, meeting wonderful people and listening to people’s stories.
This morning we joined with another group to volunteer at Food Lifeline in South Seattle. Food Lifeline is the main food bank/distribution center for the smaller food banks, soup kitchens and shelters throughout the region. With their large warehouse, they are able to rescue millions of pounds of nutritious food from farmers, manufacturers, grocery stores, restaurants, and retailers that would otherwise go to waste. Today in just two hours, our group repackaged the equivalent of more than 11,000 meals. We were tasked with repackaging donated bakery items to boxes with similar items and similar weight.
Tonight we will be going out with Union Gospel Mission Search and Rescue Van into South Seattle working with its outreach to the homeless. Since we will not be getting back until midnight, we will have to fill you in on our night tomorrow.
Today’s volunteer activity was working at St. Francis House. St. Francis House “is established in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi to be a presence in Seattle to serve those in need and to inspire simplicity and charity in its volunteers and those they serve.” As volunteers we were asked to be present to the people who came in needing assistance with clothing, food, housewares, bus tickets, hygiene products, you name it, St. Francis House tries to help. They are reliant on volunteers to run the organization and it so happened that today a lot of the usual volunteers were not able to come, so the fact that the PVs came, turned out to be very beneficial. Because we were working directly with those coming in, we only have a group photo from the day, but honestly everyone was so busy all day there really wasn’t time for pictures : )
As we were wrapping up and getting ready to leave, the Immigrant and Workers Rights march celebrating May Day came by so we were not able to leave and instead took in the March.
Today the volunteers worked at WestSide Baby. We have worked with WestSide Baby each of the last seven years and each year is a different experience, but always a lot of fun. WestSide Baby is a “nonprofit organization that collects new and used items for children and babies and distributes them free of charge to King County families in need.” In 2017, they served 46,000 children. Today the volunteers were tasked with assembling donated cribs to make sure that all the pieces were there, they tested battery-powered toys to make sure they were in working order, they counted and sorted donated diapers and finally they sorted clothes to check to make sure they were in good condition. It was a great day, and as always, we were very impressed with the organization, the commitment of their volunteers and staff, and all the great work they do in the community.
Check out the slide show of our day’s activities!!
Today we began our 7th annual PV Seattle Week. As seems to always be the case when this week rolls around each year, the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. (Really, it does rain quite a bit here…) While we don’t have any PVs traveling in from far and wide, we do have 15 local PVs taking part in the week’s activities and we are all excited to get things going!
Our first day of service was working in the kitchen at OSL. OSL (formally Operation Sack Lunch) provides meals to several groups around Seattle as well as for their Outdoor Meal Site. Today we had a hand preparing the 1,600 meals that come out of their kitchen daily. The volunteers chopped onions, crumbled up cheese for a delicious macaroni and cheese that was served for lunch, chopped zucchini and cucumbers, and sorted a prepared herbs that were donated in small prepared packaging. Almost all of the food used to prepare the meals is donated or rescued items. The chefs at OSL would do great being on Chopped as each day they look at what they have to work with and created delicious and healthy meals. If you want to read more about OSL, please check out their website: https://www.oslserves.org/