As part of HB’s commitment to community service, students and teachers ventured out to support efforts at 2100 Lakeside, a men’s shelter operated by Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry. The shelter serves hundreds of men per day, providing food, housing, and other supports to those in transition or need. Upon arrival, our guide directed us to the kitchen, where we donned requisite hairnets and aprons in anticipation of our work in serving dinner to residents. Meals at 2100 Lakeside are prepared off-site through an educational program that trains students to work in the local food industry. We served homemade pasta and meatballs along with roasted vegetables, yogurt, bread, and juice, as we swiftly assembled trays for hundreds of folks coming down the line. After a flurry of serving, our time came to an end, and we found ourselves back on the bus to HB.
On the way to the shelter our bus conversation spanned the typical topics of schoolwork, college applications, and typical teenager life. Our dialogue on the return was marked by a much more thoughtful discussion of homelessness and hunger in Cleveland. I was impressed by how the student volunteers discussed the diverse needs of the residents, as well as the complex factors leading to them seeking the support of the shelter. Our conversation was a fruitful exploration of questions of poverty, mental health, employment, and privilege. While our contribution that day was small relative to the need in the community, I hope that it sparks further engagement with this organization and the communities it supports.
The Center for Civic Engagement is committed to addressing hunger and homelessness in Cleveland on an ongoing basis. Through the leadership of our corps of Service Learning Officers, Upper School students plan and implement service projects at least once a quarter at 2100 Lakeside and the Cleveland Foodbank. In addition, Upper School students volunteer on a regular basis at the West Side Catholic Center.
Header photo credit: Boston Magazine