February 1, 2012
Because of Martin Luther King Jr.’s paramount dedication to service, his birthday has been honored as a National Day of Service for the past 16 years, uniting volunteers across America behind the importance of serving one’s community. The group from our New Orleans Alternative Breaks trip was able to reunite to be a part of this Day of Service and volunteered with the San Luis Obispo Food Bank in efforts to collect food from residential neighborhoods throughout SLO County.
We had three students from the trip come out to the Morro Bay site on Saturday, January 14, to take bags to Los Osos neighborhoods. They placed these empty bags on the doorsteps of houses and left instructions that explained how residents can put food into the bags, which will then be collected the following Monday. We asked each volunteer group to take fifty bags to fulfill an hour long of volunteering, but the students went beyond what was expected of them and requested to take 600 bags, a task that would end up lasting them around five hours.
On Monday, we had twelve students who were able to help with the bag pick up. After making numerous trips to and from Los Osos to Morro Bay, we were able to process around 200 full bags of food, which contributed to the overall SLO County total of 14,000 pounds of collected food throughout the weekend. It was so refreshing to have everyone together again not just to reunite, but to reunite over similar types of volunteering that we were able to do in New Orleans. A famed call by the Food Bank is that “hunger doesn’t take a day off,” a saying that the students were able to recognize by dedicating their weekend and day off to service.
Every time everyone from the New Orleans trip gets together, we cannot plan enough events to reunite in the future. We’re hoping this is just the first of many service days we can do together to keep with the trends of the overall volunteering mission of Alternative Breaks.