There’s a lot of work to do everywhere in this country, and it felt so good to get some of it done today .
Marc, Wyatt and I were three of the 40 lucky people who got to volunteer today on this National Day of Service in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We were signed-up to work in the Presidio, which receives its funding from sources other than the federal government, so our project could go forward. The 660-ish people who had registered to work in other parts of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area were told their day of service was canceled, courtesy of the government shutdown.
We worked in an area of Fort Scott with 23 other volunteers. Together, we moved a dump truck full of soil into wheelbarrows, down the hill, and into raised beds. We sheet mulched areas around the greenhouse. We pulled bags and buckets of weeds, and we moved the compost pile (which, as it turns out, was also a multi-story dwelling for some voles) into wheelbarrows and then into another dump truck so it could be transported to the compost yard. Wyatt did some mowing.
Our group, which included several wonderfully industrious children, did an astonishing amount of work this morning. While we worked, we met new friends, including a family who had recently moved to San Francisco from Kansas. Wyatt and I also caught up with some of our fellow regular volunteers.
Imagine all the projects those 660 other volunteers (and the thousands of others nationwide) would have accomplished today had the presidential temper tantrum not interfered. Lost volunteer work is a very small consequence compared to what federal workers are dealing with, including the inability to pay rent or buy food because they haven’t been paid for a month, but it’s a consequence nevertheless.
When we finished our work, we all gathered together and reported on our progress. As part of our closing circle, the kids read suggestions about what change they wanted to see in the future. Ideas included: Make things fair for everyone, no fighting, use less plastic, especially plastic water bottles, and make everything out of chocolate. (Dream big.) Lunch was pupusas, rice, beans, salad, and plantains from Express Liquor & Pupuseria. I know I’ve mentioned before how good their food is, so consider this a reminder to go there and taste it for yourself.
Regardless of how you spent your MLK Day, I hope in 2019, we all find ways to be do-ers. Let’s be people who are making the changes we want to see in the world. Thinking and talking are fine, but they’re not enough. We can think and talk while we’re working to make things fair for everyone (or perfecting a recipe for architectural chocolate).