Mission Statement: The PV Volunteers are an ecumenical community of diverse individuals. By providing a service experience in a variety of settings, we respond to human need, form relationships and encourage change and growth both in ourselves and with those we serve.

Visit our website to find out more: www.pvprogram.org

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Bluest Skies Are in Seattle

     Yesterday we arrived in Seattle. What a beautiful day in a beautiful city! Blue skies with clouds consisting of the texture of cotton candy, water visible to the pebbly bottom, luscious green plants that would make Ireland jealous, snow capped mountains embracing us with their presence- we couldn't have picked a better city to serve in. Although Seattle is infamous for its rain, the forecast is calling for nothing but sunshine.

     For those of us who arrived early, we have recovered from the heartbreak of witnessing our hometown heroes, the Seattle Mariners, lose to the bad guys. We picked up our crew from the airport and readied ourselves for our weeklong journey.  In orientation our fearless leader, Jill, gave us a rundown on the good, bad, and ugly of Seattle. We learned about Seattle's recycling/composting laws, its young median age, and all the fun things to do the city offers. We also heard about its tent cities, how 45% of those receiving food assistance have higher than a high school education and the sometimes unattainable high cost of living. We finished the night with some pizza and commissioning.

    We are oh so fortunate to be staying at the Our Lady of Guadeloupe parish center. The building is almost as stunning as the view from our air mattresses. The building rests atop a hill so much can be seen. The Puget Sound, the iconic Space Needle, and mountains all visible from the four large windows in our make shift bedroom along with West Seattle residents playing a fierce match of soccer. We are excited to be a part of all of this.

Our Work Week Has Begun!

Today we ventured out to the Oso distribution center. Oso is a town about an hour away from where we are staying. About a month ago, Oso was hit by a severe mudslide. Forty-one people died and many more are displaced. Oso was just visited by the president last week. Due to the generosity of neighbors far and wide, a temporary distribution center was established to help meet the needs of the community. Items donated are sorted, organized and then sent out to fulfill their purpose. We had six out of state volunteers and five local residing PVs collaborate to get as much done as possible. Pairs of volunteers sorted new arrivals, organized men's and women's clothing, transport canned items to their appropriate spot and more. Our male volunteers stated they now know much more about women's clothing and feel this will positively impact their everyday lives. Much was accomplished at the center but much more work is needed to be done.

     After our organizing and sorting, we continued heading north to experience some of the breathtaking attractions. Unbelievable. We saw vibrant tulip fields made the rainbow we saw later on the evening appear dull. We hiked at a state park and walked along the beach. We stopped at a historic fort and caught a glimpse of Mount Rainier over 100 miles away when the clouds drifted. We broke bread at a town nestled by the water as picturesque as a movie scene. Our adventure was completed by a trip on a ferry ride where we saw both a seal and a bald eagle. Could we have really done all of this in one quintessential day? Yes.

     One particular story that stuck with us today was told by the volunteer instructing us of our work. She informed us that family members were out grocery shopping when the mud slide hit. Their family members at home perished. Can you imagine your life changing that quickly in the blink of an eye?

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