On Jan. 28, eight volunteers representing student council and art club worked as servers, helpers, and, most importantly, listeners as a part of the Rachel's Challenge Women's Crisis Center project. Students volunteered serving breakfast to the women staying at the crisis center, after raising money at the school to have the event catered by the One Grub Community food truck.
Art teacher Diane Vera, who helped coordinate the project, said that the project was a cool way to involve the students with local businesses and the community.
"The Rachel's Challenge art club and student council paired up to sell tickets with The One Grub Community organization, which is a pay-it-forward food truck," Vera said. "They only use food that's in season with local farmers. They sell it out of their trucks, instead of accepting tips they take pay it forwards."
Vera said that it was important for the group to find a charity that fit their project, and that she felt compelled to help a shelter that does such amazing work.
"The women's shelter was a good fit for us," Vera said. "The opportunity center is one of the few shelters that accepts anybody, no matter what condition they are in. "
Vera said that breakfast wasn't often served to the women, and that they were excited to be able to provide a luxury the women had never before been afforded.
"At that particular shelter other organizations provide them with lunch and dinner, but they have never been treated to a breakfast," Vera said. "We treated them like they were going to a restaurant and ordering food fresh. We took their order to the food trucks and brought it back to their tables. A plate consisted of eggs, bacon, sausage and vegan french toast."
Junior Francis Font, who represented student council, said that it was an amazing experience to be able to serve breakfast at the crisis center.
"Seeing the women's reactions when we were making the food was amazing," Font said. "They were excited because that had never been done for them before."
Junior Margaret Cataldi said that she had become involved with the project after seeing a project Vera had done on homeless people.
"I remember my teacher, Mrs. Vera, talking about an art piece she did that involved the homeless a lot," Cataldi said. "It really sparked my interest in wanting to go see them and spend time with them."
Saenz said that it was humbling to hear about what the women had been through.
"We interacted with them and they told us stories," Saenz said. "It was eye opening to see where they came from, and comparing it to myself.
Saenz said that working with the women was the best part of the project.
"It exceeded my expectations, I thought we wouldn't be able to interact with them like we did," Saenz said. "It was much more than just serving food."
The community at school is planning on another service project like this to happen after testing week. If you are interested, you can join your local Rachel's Challenge community or contact the One Grub Community on Instagram or Facebook. You can also contact Mrs. Vera in room 210.