Seattle is a metropolitan city with customary issues that combats homelessness on many fronts. Of the organizations dedicated to fighting the problem, Operation Sack Lunch is singular in its mission to provide nutritionally dense hot and cold meals with determined regularity and in clean, safe environments. The forces at work in a food-insecure and/or un-housed person’s life were explored by students in Level 4 at the A.C.E. Language Institute at Seattle Pacific University with direction from Dr. Patrice Caux and Dr. Ginny Maurer. The instructors for the term, they culminated their study taking students for a volunteer day in the kitchens of Operation Sack Lunch.
Doing their part to bring the 1200 hot meals the organization provides every day, the students worked in two kitchens, stocking shelves, prepping, and cooking. These kitchens at Ozanam House and St. Martins House serve their 50 residents, chronically homeless men age 55 and over. Chef Duuna ran the show at Ozanam and Chef Paul at St. Martins, while students, Ginny, and Patrice worked side by side carrying out orders. The students were face to friendly face with the residents as they served, and retreated to the kitchen to wash the plates, pots, and silverware after.
A note from Development Director at Operation Sack Lunch Kim Jones read: “I received a great email from Chef Paul saying that he could not have gotten so much accomplished without the help from your group yesterday. Though our staff is very good at getting the meals out, many of the maintenance items such as sorting and processing overstock, cleaning the stock rooms and taking inventory, we simply could not do without our volunteers. We are so glad that your students were able to come down and work with us, and are happy to hear that we could be part of lifelong education regarding poverty issues.”
“This project was a great opportunity.”
“This service learning project was one of the most wonderful experiences in my life”
“Helping another person makes me feel happy.”
“Seeing others smiling because of something you have done for them will give you full satisfaction.”
A.C.E. Language Institutes feed the mission of making the world your community by internationally engaging the local population and supporting efforts of social service organizations while broadening the cross-cultural education of students. We look forward to our next day of service learning and meeting every resident of the cities that house our Language Institutes.