[volunteer] OPERATION: Sack Lunch

As part of a volunteer group called the Service Girls, I have had the pleasure of getting to know about two dozen organizations that provide vital services to our community, and to interact and help them out on about a dozen occasions. Learning about the nonprofit community in any city you live in is a fantastic way to learn about local issues, and probably the number one thing I would do if I were to pack up and move. But in this case, I’m excited to share about some of the group volunteer projects that I have been involved in over the last few years, and below you’ll find all the information you need to set up a project of your own.


OPERATION: Sack Lunch is a meal and basic necessities provider serving the un-housed, no and low income, food insecure children, women, and men, who call Seattle their home. They are a grassroots project that began in 1989 with 30 lunches in the kitchen of founder, Singer / Song Writer, Beverly Graham.

OPERATION: Sack Lunch has now provided more than 2.9 million meals (hot meals and sack lunches). They currently serve 3 meals a day, seven days a week.

Our team arrived at 9am and were put to work building 30 sack lunches, cleaning and setting up the room for the first round of lunch, and were then put to work assembling sandwiches, de-stemming cherries, seasoning tilapia and helping to create a meal for residents of the housing complex where the kitchen is located (underneath the Viaduct) and for the outdoor meal site underneath the I-5 at 6th and Columbia.

Lunch consisted of:

  • Tilapia topped with pico de gallo
  • French fries
  • Peas and eggplant
  • Garden salad with ginger dressing
  • Biscuits
  • Cherries

Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? It really was. In the words of our chef, “They’re already homeless – why serve them food that tastes bad?”

After making lunch and serving it in the building, we packed the rest of it up and hiked up the hill to 6th and Columbia (daunting, but you can actually take a bunch of building elevators if you know your way around), which is a semi-permanent site for OSL’s food service. We were greeted with a long line of people patiently waiting for us to get everything set up. Once we opened the gate, we served a steady stream of about 200 people until we ran out of food.

This was one of my favorite group volunteer projects, because we got to have a really complete experience both being in the kitchen and serving our food both in the kitchen facility and to a line of about 200 people at the outdoor site.

If you’d like to set up a service project and cook lunch or dinner, please visit http://www.opsacklunch.org/ and click “Volunteer” to see information about volunteering, a calendar of available dates and to download an application form. OPERATION: Sack Lunch provides a vital service to the Seattle community and offers a great group volunteer experience for 5-15 people from 9-2pm or 2-6:30pm. Hairnets are required. 😉


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