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Stories from the Field: Stone Soup & Buy Local First Breakfast

Hello everyone! Welcome to the first blog post from Blue Six, the AmeriCorps NCCC team currently serving at SAGE. Through this series of blog posts (each written by a different member of the team) we hope to provide you with an inside look at AmeriCorps NCCC and the service experiences the team is encountering at SAGE, the Corvallis Environmental Center, and with our 11 partner organizations in Benton County. Our first service story comes from Brendon Esquibel, originally from Maine, who is one of seven members on the team and is also the team leader. Thanks for checking out the project - come by the garden to meet the team when you have a chance!

A Different Kind of Service

In AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), we pride ourselves on “getting things done!”  These “things” tend to vary widely, whether its tutoring elementary school students in California, felling trees and blazing trail in Wyoming, or gardening in Oregon. In official AmeriCorps terminology, these tasks fall into five distinct categories: urban and rural development, environmental stewardship and conservation, energy conservation, infrastructure improvement, and disaster relief. While these terms may sound nice in corporate offices and on official government paperwork, they do little to describe the unique and often intimate experiences our team has shared throughout the last ten months. So instead of telling you that our current project is addressing “urban and rural development” needs in Corvallis and leaving it at that, I hope to provide a little more insight into our experience by describing one of the more impactful project days we've had thus far. 

Last Saturday (June 4) our team was split between two Corvallis service sites: 1) the Buy Local First Breakfast event hosted at Oddfellows Hall and 2) Stone Soup soup kitchen offered at First Christian Church. While close in proximity (only 4 city blocks separate these concurrent events), these two project sites address very different community needs. At Buy Local First Breakfast, an event that encourages individuals to support local farmers and businesses through the purchase of local ingredients and produce, we helped prepare and serve food made from all-local ingredients to members of the community. However, only 4 blocks across town, another vital community need was being met as team members and volunteers helped prepare and serve food at the Stone Soup soup kitchen. While local groups and organizations also donate many of the ingredients for these meals, the efforts at this project site served to alleviate a very different community need: poverty and hunger.

Although seemingly disconnected in both purpose and location, our dual presence at both these sites goes to show that these two events are not so different after all. Both provide an essential service to meet a community need, and both work with partner organizations like the Corvallis Environmental Center. Perhaps most importantly, both events allow for a different kind of service, yet the same kind of joy.

I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy. - Rabindranath Tagore

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