Times like this one make me regret being the (seemingly) only person on the planet who never learned how to properly ride a bike. (“Properly” as defined by spending more time on the bike than on the ground). For years it has been only a point of embarrassment, but when I arrived at the Urban Bicycle Food Ministry, an awesome ministry where volunteers make burritos, and then take them on their bikes to give to people on the street who are hungry, I began to regret never learning how.
One of my favorite things to do at volunteer sites is to get to know the people who both run and volunteer alongside me. I have found, more often that not, that people who spend time volunteering in the community have extremely interesting back stories. It is almost always worth asking them questions about their lives, as their answers might shock, astound, and inspire you. It was a very interesting crew of volunteers that showed up to help prepare burritos the night I was there. As I made burritos, I found myself surrounded by people from various backgrounds, like a New York speech pathologist-in-training and an avid church
Alongside me was my friend Kat, a Volunteer Odyssey participant who I met earlier in the week through volunteering (hooray) and who also happened to have worked at her schools burrito shop previously, so I was lucky to have such a seasoned professional guiding my movements. Each of us worked as one arm of the human burrito assembly line, creating a smooth and seamless process.
After assembling all the burritos we moved downstairs and began packing goody bags of snacks to give to people. While we packed, people began arriving with their bikes and the room became lively with people (both old friends and first timers) twittering excitedly, pumping up their bike tires, and putting burritos into their backpacks as they prepared for their journey.
While I myself was not able to go along for the ride (I figure the first time I experiment with bike riding probably shouldn’t be at night with a backpack full of delicious but easily squishable burritos), I nonetheless felt part of the Urban Bicycle Food Ministry community and was grateful to have had the opportunity to contribute to such a unique and worthwhile ministry. It is interesting how sometimes the simplest of ideas-such as riding around on a bike handing out burritos-can be such a tremendous impact on its volunteers and its community.
Thank you for reading! Like what you read? Mira Biller is the intern at Volunteer Odyssey and is passionate about a variety of social justice issues. She especially loves connecting people with organizations that will be mutually beneficial and helping to create a better and more connected community. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org