Portland, Maine Day 3: After cooking and serving breakfast for 300+ people on a rainy day at a homeless shelter, then cleaning up to do it all over again for lunch, the youth were shocked to learn it was only 2pm when we emerged from the kitchen. They were sure it was at least 5pm. Piling back into our van, their facial expressions were a mix of happiness and amazement at what had just happened. We had been forewarned by our coordinators that this would be a demanding work day, and here our youth were asking me if we could do it again tomorrow. They talked about how much they liked getting to interact with the guests while serving food and clearing trays, how cool it was running the industrial dish washer, how they chopped and cleaned and sliced and pulled meat off bones and scrambled 700 eggs.
When we gathered for group debriefing and reflection that evening, Ken asked, “So who here wants to do another mission trip next year?” They all practically shouted yes. This week-long service trip was a first time experience for all 8 youth. We are already planning our 2016 summer trip to Washington D.C. and we might have double the amount of youth!
The Root Cellar is an inner-city community center providing classes, meals, mentoring, support, children’s camps and youth clubs for residents living nearby and in government housing. Much of their outreach involves working with Portland’s large refugee population. We were able to help run their Kids Club, support two free community dinners, and engage in relational ministry by getting to know kids by playing games in the park and accompanying them to Crescent Beach. We ended our mission week with cleaning and raking the park and yards for government housing residents before heading home to Vermont.