Every year a group of young folks spend a year of their life in service to Loaves & Fishes guests. These enthusiastic volunteers relocate from all over the country, generally after wrapping up their university education, and work as full time staff for a volunteer stipend. It’s a year of learning, growing and relationship building. We are so grateful for these volunteers and the many who’ve come before and will come after them. Read on to meet the 2020-2021 volunteers, the first ever group to serve Loaves & Fishes exclusively during the pandemic.
Fun fact: Our very own Executive Director, Angela Hassell, began at Loaves & Fishes as a Jesuit Volunteer at Mustard Seed School.
Lin Robertson (she/her/hers)
Hometown: Reading, PA
Favorite Song: Call It Dreaming by Iron & Wine
Favorite Loaves Lunch: Corned Beef & Cabbage
What have you learned at Loaves? As my time at Friendship Park comes to an end, I’ve been thinking a lot about what my coworkers and the guests have taught me. I have learned so many names and with each new name came another chance for a deeper connection. And now much of my day is filled with greetings and stories. I’ve also heard plenty of stories about Friendship Park before the pandemic, and I have learned that despite the restrictions we are still able to show up for our guests in ways that reflect the unique oasis that the Park is.
What do you hope to leave behind? I hope to leave behind a spirit of goodwill and friendship to all my coworkers and the guests we serve.
Marcellese Powell (she/her/hers)
Hometown: Lacrosse, WI
Favorite Song: Soweto Blues by Juls
Favorite Loaves & Fishes Lunch: Potato Bar or Maryhouse Salad
What have you learned? I have learned how resilient the women we serve every day are. I’ve learned hospitality has many faces; a simple hug, a cup of warm coffee to warm up a body after a cold night outside. I’ve learned the value of slowing down and mindfully being present to all of our guests. I learned that my Maryhouse team is truly unstoppable and their valuable support has helped me flourish on some of my hardest days. It’s been magical to spend the year here, watching the transitions of the campus and the program. The flexibility we have for our community of guests experiencing homelessness has truly been inspirational.
What I hope to leave behind: Reminders to live in color, to laugh often and to spread love – and hugs.
Molly Carroll (she/her/hers)
Hometown: Charolotte, NC
Favorite Loaves Lunch: Potato Bar!
Favorite Song: Heart’s Content by Brandi Carlile
What have you learned? This year I have been continually re-learning what it means to to be where my feet are. Everyone at Mustard Seed has taught me so much about what it looks like to care for and support these developing humans in a way that honors their dignity and worth so fully. The kids in my classroom have taught me to go slow, to notice good things, and to take myself waaaay less seriously. I am grateful for all that they are and all that they will continue to be beyond my time with them.
What do you hope to leave behind? I hope that in my time here I have helped foster more spaces that feel soft and intentional and accepting. I hope I have given students a space to be joyful and angry and sad and feel what they feel! I hope to leave behind a space for kids at Mustard Seed to continue to be their full, messy, weird, emotional selves. I have learned more during my time here than I could ever hope to leave and I am better because of all of it!
Jenna Roskopf (she/her/hers)
Hometown: Solon, IA
Favorite Loaves Lunch: BBQ Chicken
Favorite Song: Superstition by Stevie Wonder
What have you learned? Spending time with the Mustard Seed kids and families has shown me that amongst the crazy world we live in, there is so much joy to be found in the little moments. Whether it be a game of basketball, telling jokes at lunch, or belting out “Old Town Road” on the van rides to and from school— I’ve learned how important it is to just be present in the moment for these kids. I feel so lucky to be at an agency that truly opens their arms and welcomes all people no matter their situation or story.