“You don’t leave until the work is done”. When I think of our volunteers, Rose and Ramine, that’s the statement that comes to my mind. It was a Monday morning at HIP during this summer. A busy day in the kitchen preparing for Senior Meals and Summer Meals at the same time. Pots, pans, and dishes were piling up. To make matters worse, the dishwasher was broken. So everything had to be scrubbed and washed by hand. By noon, volunteers who would serve senior meals were off to the Lake City Community Center. Our Summer Corps members were off to their sites to serve summer meals to kids and parents. When I peeked into the kitchen after the morning hubbub was over, I found two volunteers still working hard washing dishes at the sink. It was Rose and Ramine, mother and son duo who volunteered regularly this summer at our kitchen and at one of the Summer Meals sites, Lake City Court. I suggested that they could leave some of the dishes for later when we’ll have more hands to help with those. But Rose mentioned that one of the lessons she wanted Ramine to learn was that you don’t leave until the work is done. So they stayed until they finished cleaning the last pan. They swept the kitchen and wiped all counter tops. When they left, the kitchen was neat and clean.
We asked Rose and Ramine a few questions after the summer was over about their experience with volunteering at HIP. Here’s what they had to say.
— Srijan Chakraborty
What’s your favorite summer food?
Rose: it is hard to choose because I love all things grown in summer, but I especially love blueberries and nectarines.
What attracted you to volunteer at HIP?
Ramine: Helping people out
Rose: The summer meal program attracted me to volunteer at HIP because it’s about providing healthful meals to kids and because my 15-year-old son, Ramine, could volunteer too.
What have you enjoyed most about volunteering at a prep or meal site?
Ramine: Working together with the other volunteers to give food to the kids
Rose: At the prep site I really enjoyed working with the HIP staff, the AmeriCorps crew, and the other volunteers. What a wonderful group of people!!! Everybody was so nice and fun to work with. At the meal site I really enjoyed seeing the kids’ excitement about the activities. Whether it was planting vegetables with Stephen, making crafts with Nancy the Librarian, or holding chickens, the kids got so excited and had a lot of fun.
Is there any way our experience has been different than imagined or did it surprise you?
Ramine: I didn’t know what to expect at first, but it turned out to be a really fun program.
Rose: I was pleasantly surprised that the summer meals were prepared from scratch and there was a variety of fruit and vegetables. We even made roasted zucchini and roasted sweet potatoes. Yum!!
Do you have any memorable stories from the kitchen or meal site?
Ramine: When the chickens came (to our site) and John got really, really scared.
Rose: It was pretty cool that at the end of the first day of volunteering Ramine told me he was really glad he volunteered and that he had a good time. At the meal site one of the memorable moments was when Pheonica made salsa with the kids. It was fun to watch the kids get excited about making salsa and Pheonica did an awesome job getting the kids involved with chopping the vegetables. They even added basil from the garden!! The kids loved the salsa!