It was early for a Thursday morning. There was a slight chill in the air as crowds in white tee shirts milled around plastic tables and chairs, listening to the live music and downing their pancakes and breakfast burritos. They would need that energy; there would be a lot of work to do that day.
The girls from La Europa were among the crowd nearly 4,000 Utah volunteers that helped make the twentieth-annual United Way Day of Caring a huge success this year. After the kickoff breakfast downtown, the girls traveled to the Lutheran Social Services building to begin volunteering.
They had been there before. Previously, several girls had donated their time and artistic skills by painting murals on the exterior walls. This time, the girls assisted the organization in its mission to help refugee families. Some girls swept and cleaned the building, while others prepared palates of food for distribution. When the families arrived, the girls worked hard to box assorted groceries and assist people in carrying their food. It was sobering to realize that for some families, the box of groceries in their hands would need to last them the whole week.
The girls received a lot of gratitude for the work they accomplished with Lutheran Social Services, and expressed gratitude in return for the chance to volunteer. As we drove back downtown to complete our second service project, girls chatted excitedly about their experience that morning. Their enthusiasm was contagious.
Our second stop was the Gateway mall downtown, to help in a community “Stuff the Bus” project. (News footage describing this project can be found here.) After donating some time to assembling kits for local children to have school supplies, the girls returned to La Europa to complete some more of their own schooling.
Throughout the morning, the girls demonstrated compassion, willingness, gratitude and focus. They made a big difference and had a lot of fun. We appreciate all the parents who gave permission for their daughters to be united in such a wonderful event!