St. Ignatius eighth graders get ready to serve at Blanchet House.
By Miriam Barnes and Jordan Kersten
Serving others is a part of our faith and the St. Ignatius community. One of the ways eighth graders share their faith has been by serving lunches at Blanchet House.
Every day Blanchet House in Northwest Portland serves hundreds of people during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are wonderful volunteers who work at Blanchet House everyday, making it run like clockwork.
One Wednesday of each month, a different group of St. Ignatius eighth graders has the privilege of serving in the soup kitchen alongside regular volunteers.
It was nerve wracking our first time at Blanchet House; there was so much to do. We prep the plates, serve the food, wipe down the tables, replace the dirty mugs with clean ones, and refill the water and coffee pitchers. There’s a lot to keep track of, and it can be overwhelming. But we split up the tasks and work together to bring warm meals to the homeless. The joy on their faces makes our jobs easy.
Walking into Blanchet House from the frigid winter air, we’re usually freezing when we arrive, and all we want to do is stand in front of the heater for the next hour. But as we wash our hands and slip on the aprons, the temperature is forgotten and anticipation takes over.
As the signal goes up, people start to file in, quickly filling up the tables — then the work begins. In reality, it's not work at all. No matter how cold we are, we always heat up fast in the warm-hearted Blanchet House.
The eighth grade class at St. Ignatius School is given a wonderful opportunity serving at Blanchet House. Serving others who are less fortunate than ourselves opens our hearts and broadens our minds, molding us into better people working for the goodness of God. We learn, perhaps not in a traditional academic sense, but in these real-life and faith-filled experiences. We think our eighth grade class’s favorite part is the end. It’s when we get to sit down, eat a great meal, and think to ourselves, “Job well done!”
All schools should participate in some sort of service outside of school — whether it’s during the school day or beyond. It helps students to realize how lucky they are and helps them understand that helping others is greater than any other reward possible. The authors are students at St. Ignatius School in Southeast Portland.