Making Lunch and Dinner for the West Women’s Shelter

By Emily Ackerman

This year for Mount Hood Climb Service Day I went with a group of about 7 people to the West Women’s shelter to make a lunch and dinner.

The West Women’s Shelter is a shelter for women and children recovering from situations of domestic abuse. The shelter is a program through the Salvation Army and within the last year their funding has been dramatically cut. The food donations come from mostly Whole Foods and New Seasons. Fresh fruit and vegetables are hard to come by at the shelter so for the past 9 years Paula Sutton, a college counselor at OES, has led a group to go and make a lunch and dinner filled with fresh fruit and vegetables for the residents.

I got the opportunity to be the leader of the group going this year. We only had 4 students total plus Paula to make the dishes and we were working until the last minute. For lunch we prepared a fresh fruit salad, pasta salad with vegetables, and garlic bread. For dinner we prepared a salad of greens and vegetables and vegetarian and chicken tortilla soup. Last year we just set the food out and the residents served themselves. A few came up to thank us but we had very little contact with them during our day of service. This year was different, we were in a lunchroom style serving situation and talked with everyone who took food. All residents were really appreciative of the fresh produce and almost all people came back for seconds.  

This year was one of my favorite MHCSD for my whole time at OES. Since I was the leader on this project, I felt like I had more of a meaningful and hands on experience especially because I got to talk to the head chef there and how the funding was cut even though this service is helping people recover from domestic abuse. It also felt more meaningful than past experiences because I was able to talk with some of the residents and they were so appreciative for just getting a meal of fresh food. I am planning to talk with the chef and set up a future dates for me and who ever wants to come as well to go back and lend a hand.