Serving my community in Portland, Oregon, has always been a big part of my life, and I did not want moving to a new country to change that. The Community Service Program at John Cabot University provides numerous ways for students to get involved in the Roman community by providing different volunteer opportunities with organizations affiliated with JCU.
When I had just started my first semester at JCU and was still settling into my new Italian life, serving dinner at the Comunità di Sant’Egidio soup kitchen every Wednesday evening quickly became the highlight of my week. The volunteers of the Comunità have welcomed me into their family, and they teach me new words in Italian every time, allowing me to experience Italian culture first-hand while serving the community.
The soup kitchen has a unique way of functioning: each volunteer is the waiter/waitress for one or more tables and will read out the menu and take food orders from the guests, just like in any traditional restaurant. Many of the needy call it “Il ristorante dei poveri” (the restaurant of the poor). The guests who come to eat at the soup kitchen seem relieved to get off their feet while enjoying a hot meal at the table along with other guests.
Many of them share stories of distant travels and their daily struggles of living in poverty. These stories inspire me each time to continue serving this incredible community. I am thankful to the Community Service Program for connecting me to this opportunity and to the Communità di Sant’Egidio for welcoming me to join their compassionate and essential mission.
Political Science Major
JCU Class of 2018