Every April, Starbucks coordinates lots of volunteering projects in communities all across the United States, and internationally as well. Anyone can join in. Last year, I signed up for a tree planting project in Cle Elum. This year I picked two projects that looked interesting and that I could work around my work week. The first was Friday, April 18, 2014, and was a meal program at the William Booth Center (a shelter and meal program for homeless men). The second project was a middle school beautification project on Saturday the 19th. I had such a great time at both! If you haven't signed up for a community service project, there's still time. Here's the official Starbucks Community Service website. WILLIAM BOOTH CENTER
On the 18th, I met up with three partners to serve food at the William Booth Center. It turns out, they were all part of Starbucks finance (in various roles). Janey, Jake, and Christian told me that they come back once a month to serve food, all year long. I walked to the William Booth Center from my office, and got to work right away. Christian and I wiped down the tables and put out the salt and pepper. Janey and Jake started making some sandwiches to serve a small number of sack meals for those individuals who for one reason or another couldn't make it to the hot lunch meal that we'd be serving. After cleaning the tables, I joined in with the sack lunch project: I added a banana, granola bar, a bag of chips, and a can of juice to the sack lunches to get them ready to distribute.
From noon to 1:00 PM, I stood serving fish sticks to the crowd of homeless men who came through for lunch. Janey served up the soup, and Jake was on French fry detail. Not shown here, Christian was a hero doing the heavy lifting: He worked the deep fryers and brought us hot French fries and fish stick to replenish our supply as we ran out. Here we are checking out the food:
On the 19th, I went to Washington Middle School for a "beautification" project. I didn't have a clue what I'd be doing but I was game. I met up with numerous Starbucks partners who were already familiar faces. I worked on a team with store manager Gypsy, assistant store manager Kienan, and partners Laurel, and Kiesha. We had to dig a trough around an area to be mulched, clean the area of most of the weeds, lay down paper, and then spread mulch over the paper. Easier said than done!
The team of volunteers listened to instructions on what to do:
From there, we split off into groups. There were other groups working in other areas, but my photos will just be from the team that I worked on. But I know that the school appreciated everyone who came out! I learned that that there are too few gardeners for the number of schools that they're responsible for maintaining.
First thing we did was dig a trough around the area to be mulched. I asked a person standing nearby to get an action pic of us working. Here I am with Kienan, and Adam (the little boy) working on troughs. Adam, the little child, was the son of one of the volunteers. He seemed to really like helping out with the trough digging. It was just adorable watching him trying to help us! Starbucks partner Ain Powell coordinated and put together this project (working in partnership with the school district) and I think (I sure hope I have this right) that Adam is Ain's son.
After preparing the lawn with a trough, we placed a layer of paper on the open area. It might not be obvious in this photo, be we got rained on pretty heavily doing this. I got down on my hands and knees and helped roll out the paper. I ended up soaked with muddy clothes, and loving it.
A separate team that worked with the mulch (hauling it around the grounds in wheelbarrows) brought us mulch to cover our area of the grounds. Partner Keisha and I (to be clear, if you don't know it already, I'm not a partner) rolled out paper, and partners Kienan and Gypsy then shoveled mulch over the paper. When we were done, it looked great!
I know that the school employees were extremely appreciative. They explained that they just don't have the resources to hire more gardeners and they'd really wanted to beautify the front grounds of the school. It does look great mulched.
I'd love to hear about your community service! I hope I can inspire you to sign up for a community service project. :)