In the Bruin Leaders Project, community involvement is one of the key elements of our Social Change Model of Leadership Development. We strongly believe that one of the main responsibilities we all have as leaders is participation at some level in our society. Community service is an excellent example of ways in which we can work toward positive change in our community.
On Sunday, February 1, 2009, the UCLA Bruin Leaders Project Student Facilitation Team went to participate in meaningful community service at Project Angel Food. Project Angel Food is an organization that provides daily meals for those with HIV/AIDS or other serious illnesses. Headed by professional chefs, a handful of volunteers come to help cook, package, and deliver the food to these patients. Although it was bright and early that Sunday morning, the experience was unforgettable and worth way more than catching up on some Zzzs. From whisking potato flakes into real fluffy mash potatoes to slicing meatloaf and walking through the chilly walk-in freezers, the morning at Project Angel Food was engaging and full of things to do. After washing our hands, putting on aprons, hairnets, and gloves, we were all set to go. We were dispersed about the kitchen and given tasks by the chefs. It was undoubtedly by far the biggest meal that we cooked for anyone as we packaged tray after tray of meals. As it neared noon time, we cleaned up and walked out of there feeling happy about sharing a bonding moment with the group and contributing to community service in Hollywood. Project Angel Food prepares food every day and would love to have you come volunteer your time and your smiles. Check out their website and call in advance: www.angelfood.org. Here are some of the reactions of the BLP SFT that went:
"Participating in Project Angel Food through Bruin Leaders Project gave me a new perspective on community service as a whole. Preparing food and cooking for the ones who need help and seeing that many people are lending out a helping hand, taught me that giving back to the community is not limited to donating to charities, beautifying our cities, tutoring elementary students, or visiting and reading to an elderly; but there is so much more that we can do. Community service is limitless. The opportunity to participate in Project Angel Food helped me reach out and give back to my community as well as create a closer bond with my fellow team members in Bruin Leaders Project. And this experience has made community service even more meaningful."
"I really enjoyed helping to prepare the food knowing that it would be delivered to people who are in need of nutritious meals. This is a very worthy organization and it was an honor to have been a part of it!"
Project Angel Food was a terrific activity for all of us SFT members to get to know each other a little better over everyone's favorite subject: food! Our team was put in charge of packing some of the pre-prepared items into sandwich bags so that they could be easily combined with the hot food items and shipped. As mundane as my poor writing skills make this sound, the crux of the activity did not derive strictly from methodical work but from the company of the people. The beneficiaries of Project Angel Food were on our minds as we zipped, stuffed, and carried raisins, string cheese, and other goodies to their intermediate destination. The best part about it was that there were good people to work alongside me and encourage me to work faster.