What a full day. After many fun icebreakers, we finally departed for the long (20 min) journey to SE Roanoke where we will stay until Monday. We were greeted by Tim from REACH who helped set up service for us and has been our go to “expert” on the SE neighborhood and social issues in Roanoke. We plunged right into service (haha get it?!) by helping serve pizza to around 60 inner city kids who are brought into the Salvation Army during the summer for programming. We were running short on pizza so Mollie and Caitlin came to the rescue by picking up more (a little too much which was perfect for a late night snack or breakfast). Later in the night we created a mission for the group and Haley and Mollie introduced what being an “active citizen” is all about. The group headed to bed pretty quick after being exhausted from lots of transitions all in a few hours.
Mollie began the day by turning on the light to the girl’s room to make sure everyone was up but many complaints were made. The first service we did was at the food pantry only 3 blocks from the Salvation Army where we are staying. The food pantry is only open for one hour beginning at 10:30 so even when we arrived at 8:30 a line was already beginning to form. The group helped organize the food donations in order to be ready for the clients to arrive. The food pantry works almost like shopping where the individuals go through the line and choose what they want. So, the group organized the various donations so that the line would go smoothly when the pantry opened. The group was eager to work and work alongside other volunteers at the pantry that morning. Each member of the group was assigned a box of food or section to supervisor and hand out when the pantry opened. This service gave the group an opportunity to see the individuals receiving the food and to also engage in conversation. We served around 100 individuals that morning.
After we ate our packed lunches we headed to a community garden that is being developed by the Roanoke Community Garden Association. Projects that were worked on by the group included building boxes for garden beds, digging a handicap accessible path to the water source, and leveling the pathway to garden plots. The group worked along with other volunteers from around the Roanoke area. The crew building the boxes for the garden beds struggled to put in the screws so they had to work together to figure out a method that was actually effective for screwing the wooden boards together. Mark, the director of the Garden Association, even admitted hard difficult the boards were so we know the group worked very hard! Mark also had pizza for volunteers from Benny’s downtown (the pizza is 28”) which he gave to our group when we left (the group will be pizzaed out by the end of the week from all the free pizza at work sites) so that was a happy end to the service day.
We started our morning a little earlier than yesterday to go to the rescue mission (the homeless shelter a few blocks from the Salvation Army) for breakfast. We had intended to go through the line with others; however, the kitchen was in need of help so they got some of the group to help work on the food line of the cafeteria. The rest of the group interacted with some of the locals.
Later in the morning the group was split into two. One group went with Bear and Alyssa to paint an addition in one of the Rebuilding Together Roanoke renovation houses. This group assisted them in priming/painting baseboards, door thresholds, and trim. Jenn, Sarah, Mollie, Cameron, and Taylor worked diligently while climbing over donated goods and children’s toys. Haley supervised the other group as they deconstructed bunk beds for REACH. When they were done, they went to meet up with the painters to see what they had been up to.
Next, everyone had lunch at the Salvation Army before going to help Alyssa organize the storage room at the Rebuilding Together office. The girls worked together to get an extremely long ladder on top of a high shelf while Wes moved wood from the storage room into a truck. Everyone then went to a nearby dumpster and helped move heavy lumber and cement from the truck to the dumpster. Due to the teamwork and support, we completed the tasks for Rebuilding Together in record time. Result of that? Much needed rest!
We all are enjoying ourselves thoroughly and everyone cannot wait for the next days to further grow and learn together.
Talk to you soon! More pictures to come
Safe and sound,
Haley, Mollie and Plungers