Wednesday the entire group went to MAC – Mothers and Children which is a ministry of Catholic Charities. They provide a box of food for a month to mothers as well as to the elderly. We spent the day making boxes with tomato and grape juices, milk, canned foods, rice and beans. By the end of our time there, we created 801 boxes with our 12 person group. After a day of physical work, we had an evening of fun and went to a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley field. Tristan was just a little excited about being at Wrigley Field! We got to enjoy the game along with Josh Clayton and Matthew and Megan Gertzen. It was great to see some of our former youth group folks.
Thursday, the groups went in different directions but both groups were out working in the garden. One group went to Rogers Park United Church to work. Miranda tells of her experience there. The other group went to West Chicago to work in a garden that is a Memorial to a young boy killed in a hit and run accident. Delphia and Jake speak to their experience.
Today we went to a church to help with the peace garden. The church was Methodist and was filled with love and an accepting atmosphere. We pulled grass out of a garden that was over grown so that the other plants had room to grow and flourish. Most of the plants were native to the dry and sandy soil surrounding much of Chicago. The deacon that helped us plant and move the plants around the garden, kept saying remember the “why”. One time he said “Remember why you are planting these plants, not because the city needs more beauty, but because the butterflies and bees pollinate plants. These plants will help take care of other plants because of the insects.” Along with the flower garden there was also the vegetable garden full of plants including tomatoes and cucumbers. Most of the plants in the different gardens were native plants that would help the environment. The work we did today was just the start of the summer long project to create a labyrinth and possibly a gazebo. The deacon explained that the city needs more places that are sacred and safe for people to enjoy. The church has a number of events including a sewing group that also incorporates a bible study time to time. The church also had free bread and a thrift store next door for anyone in need. The Deacon also expressed that people are people, to him everyone should share the same rights. The welcoming atmosphere made me feel likeno judgement was normal, the belief that people are people will stick with me throughout my life. I am beyond grateful that I got the chance the meet the Deacon as well as begin a project that will be amazingly beautiful with the help of many people this summer. -Miranda
Today when our group was traveling from the garden we were helping fix up, we had to board a bus. The bus was packed and so at first all 6 of the people in my group had to stand. As the bus made its stops the bus slowly got less crowded until everyone but myself had a place to sit. I was fine standing – it wasn’t a very bumpy ride and I had 3 days of practice under my belt – but one of the women sitting next to an empty space I hadn’t noticed got my attention and told me to take a seat. As I approached her I double checked that it was okay for me to take a seat next to her on such a crowded bus. She told me to go ahead and sit, and mentioned that I looked like I had been working hard and deserved to sit. I tooka seat, and to my surprise she kept talking. She asked what I had been doing to make myself such a mess, and when I told her she said that she appreciated it – and that it was such a good thing to do, since during the summer ‘everyone gets lazy’. I agreed and said that it was rewarding to see the progresswe had made. She laughed and agreed. After a short silence, she said that sometimes it was hard to get active, I nodded and said that for me, the hardest part is getting started. Once again, she agreed, and we fell into another short silence. After a little while, she told me that one of her friends was beautiful with ‘long hair, perfect skin’… and then told me how this friend had gotten into drugs somehow, which took her nice hair and skin. She said that she was so glad that her friend was alive, but that it is easy to take things for granted until you lose something. The way she talked so casually about the fact she almost lost a friend kind of struck me, and all I could do was nod vaguely. A silence fell once again, until Karen told me that the next stop was ours and that I should pull the rope to let the driver know. The woman next to me called out the name of our stop just as I was pulling the rope. I stood up, she said to have a nice rest of the day, gave me a broad smile, and then I had to exit the bus. – Delphia
Today at the garden we did mulching, mowing, cutting bushes and picking up trash. Sorry I don’t have much but that’s really all we did. – Jake