Embracing the Community

Service can take on many forms. Most of us didn’t know exactly what we had signed up for as we gathered in the Chapel on Wednesday morning. But we were ready to give of our time and fill whatever needs were about to be sent our way. Sack lunches in hand, we spread out to Embrace the Community.

For the group at the Y, this looked like hanging out with a bunch of kids. Ryan Herriage told of being pelted with dodge balls by thirty of them, after which they read The Cat in the Hat and had a Zumba dance class. At Food for Lane County’s Grassroots Garden, 1,000 lbs. of celery were harvested and cleaned. Sharie Krouse summed up the experience with “there were bugs and water in everyone’s faces.” Two other groups found themselves facing bugs at community gardens, one at Springfield Youth Farms and one at Churchill Gardens, though for Ed Fryrear the bugs were the least of his worries. He spent his afternoon wading in a compost pile, removing spiders and mice for the rest of his group. “I will be burning these shoes later,” he laughed at the end of his story.

The group at Habitat for Humanity may have stayed the cleanest. In fact, they worried that their day might be boring when they found out they would be spending it folding flyers. However, their afternoon quickly became a discussion of 90s shows, interspersed with singing. Emily Sanders described it as “I didn’t know most of my group. And now I do.” Camp Harlow’s crew was surprised to learn that had they not been there, all of their tasks would have fallen on one person. Natalie Spieker said it was great to give back to a camp after she had gone to so many, and now she has an even greater appreciation for what goes on behind the scenes.

A group went to the Jefferson Street Bridge to hand out sandwiches to the homeless with Free People of Eugene.  There, they sang along to Grace Bowling’s ukulele and met a man named Wizard. Morgan Horn found herself in a paint-peeling contest at the Boys and Girls club. I washed windows at Catholic Community Services. None of the tasks were very glamorous and some of them were downright gross. But that is the nature of service; it is need-based. As Sarah Halstead put it “ETC day shows the need in our area, but it also meets it, and the coolest part is that NCU students get to be the ones that fill that need.”