8th grade students spent most of their Friday morning working in the kitchen of the Frederic Ozanam House, a low-income housing facility for men fifty-five and older, and then transitioned to an off-site shelter to feed anyone in need of a free, warm, and nutritious meal. They received a tour and a brief history of Operation Sack Lunch (OSL) before they dove into the kitchen of the Oz House to chop lettuce, slice up oranges, and cut onions.
OSL was started in 1989 by Beverly Graham who wanted to help feed the hungry people she saw as she made her tours as a musician. Initially, she started by packing thirty sack lunches and handing them out at Pioneer square. She started doing this once a week and eventually found that there were people lining up for the “lunch lady” before she’d even arrived. One day, she found that she needed more food than she prepared for those waiting in line for her. That’s when Operation Sack Lunch formed. Since that day, the organization has blossomed and OSL now has partnerships with restaurants and grocery stores around the city as part of their Food In Motion program where “they rescue and redistribute over 5 million pounds of quality meal ingredients that were previously slated for the meal stream.” The staff and volunteers work in a variety of kitchens, partnering with shelters and low-incoming house facilities in the area, and provide meals not only at some of these sites but also at their outdoor sites. OSL serves a nutritious breakfast, lunch, and dinner, seven days a week, every day of the year at each of their outdoor sites!
Soundview students were part of helping OSL’s Friday lunch service at two different facilities this trip. Before diving into the kitchen, they had a quick tutorial on the different ways to use a knife; how to prepare to work safely and sanitarily in an industrial kitchen; then they got straight to work! Alongside OSL chefs, our students prepared a stir-fry for the residents at the Oz House, which included rice, chicken stir-fry, salad, oranges, and rescued milk. After they prepared the meal, they helped serve what they cooked to the residents. After this first shift, they then walked down the hill to OSL’s outdoor site that’s located under the I-5 to serve lunch a second time. This time they helped unload a van, serve a meal to those in need, and cleaned-up the site. Soundview students did a wonderful job demonstrating how useful they can be as volunteers with their willingness to give back to our greater community!
If you want more information on OSL, or are interested in volunteering, you can read about this wonderful organization at https://www.oslserves.org/.