Hi everyone, thanks so much for reading my blog posts and following me on my journey to California. Sorry for the wait, I have been extremely busy getting back from my trip and putting together all my photos for you guys.
My last week in Arcata was amazing, and I think I will show you the pictures first.
These are just a few pictures highlighting what I did in my last week in Arcata. I think the most interesting thing I did was climb a 300ft cliff!
I also visited the Redwoods forest, which I think deserves a gallery of its own:
It was such an amazing experience, being in a forest full of quiet serenity and some of the tallest trees in the country! I learned a lot there about the history of the Redwoods Forest and the indigenous people who built communities in the area.
I also had the opportunity to continue my writing and attend spoken word events! I got to see an amazing group of woman named Xicana Revolt who are poets on tour.
I ended my time in Arcata volunteering and getting my last few hours in at Food for People. While I was there, I was also able to speak to some clients at Food for People who spoke Spanish, which was a great accomplishment for me.
It was a bittersweet goodbye, for I made many friendships and learned a lot from the people around me. I felt very welcomed and honored by them, when they included my picture on their instagram and their flyer! (Pictured above)
Thankfully, my flight back home was much easier than on the way there. I’m extremely grateful that I was able to accomplish my goals of utilizing my Quaker values through my volunteering, my writing, and in the space around me. I am also grateful for the experiences I have had there, and I know they have made me a stronger volunteer, writer and person.
Hi all, I’m back to update you on my service trip in Northern CA. I last left off on last Tuesday, a day before my service began.
Now that I have had 2 full days of service at Food for People, I’m happy to share my experience with you. To sum up the experience so far, it’s been a lot of hard labor and work.
On my first day, I started off by meeting the staff and other volunteers at the Food Bank. (Most of them were super cool college students from the nearby university). Afterwards, I was asked to do a number of tasks– sort the pantry, clean and bag produce, weigh bags to be shipped to homeless shelters and senior centers.
Wednesday was a long day, filled with a lot of sorting, cleaning and sweeping. Thursday was a nice break, and Friday I went back for more service. I spent the whole day there, and there was a huge “Potato project”. Food for People got a donation from a nearby potato farm and received about 1000 pounds (yes, one thousand) of potatoes, and they needed the volunteers to clean them off and sort them.
After that long day of service on Friday, I attended a fun event for International Women’s Day! It was at the nearby Arcata playhouse where they had many women come sing, speak and laugh with other women who came to attend. It was a great experience to be surrounded by other strong women of northern CA and see how they use their feminism and intersectionality in their community.
The next day I spent some time exploring! On Saturday, I went to the nearby Eureka bay and saw some beautiful dunes. (We didn’t stay too long because of how rainy) Afterwards, we travelled up to a smaller redwoods forest, filled with absolute beauty! I’m looking forward to going to the real redwoods next weekend, when it is sunnier.
That night, I went to a dance competition concert in Eureka, where the family I am staying with had a friend in the competition. It was a beautiful theater and a great show! The dancers were so beautiful and talented.
The next day was a beautiful sunny day, and we took a hike on the dunes and went to a Pacific beach! I haven’t been to the Pacific in a while, so it was nice to dip my feet in the cold water.
Thanks for checking out my projects progress and reading about all the work and fun I’m having! I’ll make sure to come up with a few more posts before my project ends in a couple weeks. Have a good week!
I did not expect to experience so many ‘adventures’ in only the first few days of my trip; so far this has been a great experience of travel and exploring the area!
The first ‘adventures’ were definitely the challenges it took to travel across the country. Originally, I had two flights booked leaving Saturday afternoon, and arriving Saturday night in Arcata. However, my first flight was delayed by 4 hours, and I missed my connecting flight at LAX. I was about to sleep in the airport until these nice strangers offered me their extra hotel room. I proceeded with caution, of course, but the offer turned out to be genuine, (and a kind one at that).
I stayed in a beautiful hotel room that night and then got on more flights the next day. Each of those were delayed by some time as well, so I ended up landing in Arcata almost 24 hours later than planned!
I spent that night catching up with my family friends (who I am staying with) and getting some rest. The next day, I slept in, took a walk, and went to orientation at Food For People! Orientation was filled with important information about volunteers, where they are needed, the impact they have on the community, and so on. I was able to create a schedule with the director there, where I will be volunteering 3 out of 5 days in the week. Each day I will volunteer around 7 hours, mostly in the pantry and warehouse, (I will explain the work I do in later blog posts).
The Arcata/Eureka area is extremely interesting, where the population is a mix of hippies, southerners and indigenous people. There are many active Native American tribes in this area, and they also have many family owned businesses in the area! There is also a nearby playhouse and college town that I have discovered! I also found it interesting how the mix of the beach, the forest, the mountains and the palm trees all in one town makes for an odd yet picturesque place.
My second night, I had the pleasure of attending an event at the local Arcata playhouse. The playhouse is currently in a series of events for National Women’s History Month (!!!) and that night they were playing Roma, a new (and absolutely wonderful) Oscar nominated movie about home workers in Mexico during the political 1970s. Beforehand however, there was a discussion held where the playhouse brought in real house workers who were members of the community, and they shared their powerful stories. I felt very lucky and humbled for these strong women to share their stories with me.
Today, (3/5/19), I spent the day working on some writing in the lovely home I’m staying in since the rain and fog was coming down pretty hard. After relaxing for the day, I went to a spoken-word poetry cafe a few minutes away. If you know me, you know I love poetry. So much. I was lucky enough to get a seat in the crowded cafe, and I was also lucky enough that there was an open mic. After listening to many college students speaking, I really couldn’t help myself from participating as well. It gives me great joy to write and then perform it, and by the end of the night I felt extremely happy and accomplished! I did not get a video of my performance, as I was there on my own, but hopefully I will go next week with the new friends I made who go to Humboldt State College who will take a video for me!
Tomorrow, I will start my volunteering at the food bank! I’m looking forward to the experiences I’ll have there in the coming days. I will make sure to keep you all updated on every adventure that crosses my path. Thanks for reading!
Hi everyone! My name is Bess Goldstein, and my senior project is essentially a service project involving service at food banks in Northern California. In my blog posts, I hope to bring you all along with me, showing you my progression, what I’ve done and what I will learn, and of course… pictures!
The premise of my project is to utilize my Quaker beliefs and values in service in a new part of the country that I have yet to explore. I will be staying in Arcata, California.
Arcata is located in Northern California, a small town in Humboldt County, close to the coast. There, there are many opportunities for volunteering and exploring. After a lot of scheduling and research for what I thought was best for my project, the family I am staying with and I decided that it would make most sense to volunteer at a certain food bank in Eureka called Food For People.
Originally, I was hoping to volunteer at the children’s theater in the area as well, but unfortunately, some communication issues got in the way of that. Either way, I am looking forward to bringing my love for service into my project despite the lack of theater.
So if you know me, you know that I am a Quaker, born and raised. I have always loved the values and beliefs they uphold, and that is why I hope to bring those values into my service project. The S.P.I.C.E.S are the Quaker pillars, in reference to my title. They stand for Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Stewardship. By going to Humboldt County, CA and volunteering at Food For People, I know that most, if not all, of those Quaker pillars will be met with my service. Food For People values sustainability, respect, teamwork, integrity–all contributing to these important Quaker values.
Aspiring to contribute to my Quaker values is only one of the goals of this project. Another certain goal of mine is to work on my Spanish language skills while volunteering at Food For People. I am aware that it is extremely beneficial for volunteers at this food bank to speak or comprehend some Spanish, as they have families and people that speak Spanish come in often. ¡Espero que logre mucho con este proyecto!
Aside from the volunteer work, I am also looking forward to exploring this beautiful part of California; specifically the Redwoods forest and other national parks in the area. I will make sure to bring you all on the project with me, with updates, pictures and more! Thanks for reading!