The youth group, which had also done an amazing coat drive earlier in the year, came to the conclusion that their next project should be helping invisible communities. The young men worked for 6 weeks on planning what the actual project would be, how it would be executed, and what change they wanted to see.
In the end, the young men decided that they wanted to make sure that the workers that we often see silently gathered in parts of East Oakland were fed and engaged with. They spent the Sunday before the day of the project making sandwiches and filling lunch bags, sometimes talking about school, sometimes, the project, but always laughing. All of the young men in the group felt that the project was a good idea, but for some, the idea hit close to home. “Some of these guys could be in our families,” said D*, a student in the group. Like D, many of the young men are Latino, and felt empowered by engaging with the workers.
As the students gathered, yawning, the morning of the 6th at 5:45am, their excitement was unmistakable. As they split into three different cars, and drove to different areas throughout East Oakland, a student made a suggestion. After noting how many homeless he saw in the same areas, he asked that we also pass out some of the sandwiches to them, to which, other students agreed.
By 7:15am, students had passed out 80 individual lunches by hand, and interacted with countless community members on the streets. When arriving back at Castlemont for the school day, the chorus of “We just DID that!” and other affirmations could be heard up and down the mostly quiet street. They gathered for one final picture, and then headed inside to their classes, congratulating themselves on a job well done.