I’m following up our brief conversation yesterday about the Blackwell School luncheon on June 13. Sounds like a potentially interesting KOH2RVA story.
Will you fill me in on what this is all about? All I know is that it is here, that you’re putting it together, and that you’ve done it for many years. But what is it? Why is it?
Thanks, and blessings.
At 1:37 yesterday afternoon Carrie replied:
It is a very good KOH2RVA story….
While I worked for Alcoa, I served as our representative on Blackwell’s Community Action team. It was a desire of the school to have a “formal” luncheon for their 5th graders to celebrate their completion of elementary school. It’s not easy to find an affordable place to have lunch for over 100 people but Beanie [Brooks, food services director at First Baptist] worked with me to make it happen. Although it has always been at FBC, Alcoa sponsored the luncheon for several years until the facility closed at the end of 2008. At that time, I told the principal I would find a way to continue the luncheon. I gather volunteers through the church’s Foodservice volunteers, my Sunday Bible study class, [my husband] Mark’s office, and anyone else I can think of. This year, I have an entire group of volunteers from Ralph Starling’s “School of Radical Hospitality.” This will be the 8th luncheon and many of the volunteers ask me every year if they can help again.
Blackwell is in one of the poorest areas of the city. The teachers and staff are fantastic but there is little money for the extras (we don’t charge the students anything to attend). This luncheon is an opportunity both to celebrate the end of elementary school and to give the students an opportunity to experience a formal meal. We bring alive the school’s dream of “a sit down meal with real silverware and multiple courses.” The students dress for the occasion and use their best manners. You may even catch one of the boys pulling out a chair for his teacher. The look on their faces when they first see the decorated dining room is priceless! The teachers have told me there is a noticeable change in behavior when they arrive back at school – they walk a little taller, act a little more mature and treat each other with respect and kindness.
To sum it up, this is one little thing I can do to bring heaven to earth for a very deserving group of kids. I’ll never forget several years ago when one of the girls told me she had often driven by our church with her grandmother but never knew she would be welcome inside….
Let me know if you need anything else. I am still firming up the schedule with the school and will forward them when it is finalized.
I agree with Carrie: it not only sounds like a “potentially interesting KOH2RVA story,” it is, in fact, “a very good KOH2RVA story.” It’s happening June 13, and if you would like to volunteer or contribute, I’m sure Carrie would be glad to know. Send your email to me at email@example.com and I will gladly forward it to her.
And thanks, Carrie, for what you and others are doing to provide those Blackwell fifth graders with a little taste of heaven. Who knows how it might change their earthly lives?