How quickly time flies! It is already the middle of the week. This is my third ASB trip, and just like the two previous ones, every day taught me sometime valuable that I will remember for the rest of my life. I absolutely love ASB and one of my favorite parts is seeing the team effort that comes out of all of us. Each trip, no matter what service or what community it is, requires a collaborative effort from the team. I love seeing that process happen and this week I was fortunate enough to see it happen in Community Servings in Boston.
My first day in the kitchen was a crazy one. I’ve never used a knife before and they assigned me to chop carrots. I was terrified of the huge knife I was swinging down on those big carrots. But I conquered my fear by asking lots of questions and seeking feedback on how I was doing by asking my team members. Slowly, I became more comfortable with the big knife and chopping carrots became fun, haha. I worked in the assembly line in the afternoon to prepare about 400 more food trays. I didn’t realize how tiring it is to stand in one line for 4 hours. But no matter what I did, I always worked in a team and things were accomplished quickly. This whole kitchen is a team — without the team, Community Servings would not be able to serve its 850 clients daily.
The level of details that the organization puts into the appearance of each food item that they prepare amazed me. I learned that it’s really important to make the clients feel that they are being cared for and that we’re not just slopping some food into some dirty trays for them. I feel that I’m connecting my emotions to the clients through the amount of sincerity, dedication, and attention that I put into preparing all the food ranging from pies to fruits to cereal to soup. The second day, I had to cut about 50 pies into 8 pieces each. This is only my second day of using a knife, but I wanted to make each slice of pie look really neat and clean. I took my time cutting them and eventually my skin started becoming irritated from all the cutting. My wrists were tired, but I kept going anyways. I wanted each client to enjoy the pie and feel happiness from the deliciousness of this food. I’ve gained that if the clients don’t want to eat the food, then all of our efforts go to waste. Thus, the aesthetics of each detail is really important and crucial. Also, the food they’re receiving is rich in nutrients that is extremely beneficial to their health. It’s not just “rice and beans” because the beans had to be specially protein prepared before they add it to the rice. These food will help the clients absorb the pills better in their digestion systems. But even more importantly, I want the clients to feel that there are people who care about them. They are not alone in this world. In this case, I’m showing them my emotions through the prepared food. I know they are able to feel it through our nutritious and carefully prepared and packaged food.
I closed the lids for about 1200 containers of fruit cocktail and apple sauce this morning. In this process, I’ve learned that Community Servings also caters to charter schools and high schools. This is one of their ways of earning money to buy more food and supplies for Community Servings. Although the food was only for charter schools and high schools, I was still carefully wiping away the sides of the containers and making sure each package was beautifully and neatly prepared. I’ve realized that the lessons, observations, and genuine sincerity of this kitchen really found its roots in me. The clients who have HIV or other chronic diseases really appreciate everything Community Servings has done for them. I feel fortunate to be a small part of process and work together as a team with the kitchen staff and my Lafayette friends on this trip to learn, help, and give back to the Boston Community. I truly look forward to going to Community Servings every day. Wish time would pass by more slowly because I would love to do more for them!