With the month of November in full swing, various organizations on and near campus are finding ways to give back to the community through food drives, service events and community meals. Community Service Learning (CSL), the Marion Polk Food Share and Mission of Hope are offering multiple opportunities for students to help prepare and distribute food throughout the month.
CSL is looking forward to joining the First United Methodist Church (FUMC) on Nov. 16 for a day of volunteer work. Volunteers will get to assist in cooking and preparing a Thanksgiving meal for over 200 Salem community members to enjoy at the church. Students and faculty alike can sign up for 2-hour shifts between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at https://forms.gle/DZV5c2wtC66r3Qqi7.
Bella Green (‘20), a CSL Coordinator, explained what the event means to CSL:
“Having CSL work with FUMC allows for Willamette-affiliated volunteers to get out of the ‘Willamette bubble’ by helping an organization that provides for the greater Salem community. Not only does this help out FUMC and strengthen Willamette’s relationship with a valuable community partner, but it also allows students to interact directly with people they might not have had a chance to otherwise.”
The event will directly benefit Salem community members attending the event as well.
“The Thanksgiving meal offers an opportunity for social interaction with individuals from all walks of life while also providing a hearty meal. This is especially important for those who may be experiencing food insecurity, or for those who may not be able to visit with loved ones over the holidays,” Green said. “We are expecting closer to 300 [community members], so it really does attract a large group of people.”
Green recommended that students sign up for future events with CSL, Marion Polk Food Share or Mission of Hope if they enjoy Saturday’s event. “These organizations have similar mission statements.”
Marion Polk Food Share allows its volunteers to assist in the preparation and distribution of food to families in need. Their mission is to “end hunger in Marion and Polk counties.” Marion Polk serves meals to over 46,000 people each month, who access the meals from various shelters and food pantries. The organization has over 100 partner agencies. The help it receives from its volunteers allows Marion Polk Food Share to distribute food to surrounding districts. Students interested in volunteering can access the volunteer application on Marion Polk’s website.
Mission of Hope, created by the Silver Creek Fellowship, is a mobile food bank and pantry. Partnered with Marion Polk, they have a similar mission statement of helping to end hunger in the Salem area. Mission of Hope travels to different Salem locations on Saturdays and Wednesdays, where volunteers set up tables and distribute food to families in need. The organization visits Houck Middle School, located in Salem, on the last Saturday of every month as well. More information about volunteering can be found on Silver Creek Fellowship’s website.
Whether students are reaching out to organizations outside of Willamette or volunteering with CSL, any service work done will make an impact on the Salem community. CSL can be contacted at <service> for any future service events, from planting trees to supporting Salem residents in need.