Birds sang and chirped overhead while “urban garden” chickens clucked on the moist ground at Bayview Mission as volunteers gathered in the morning hours on Monday, March 12 in preparation for the Families with Infants & Toddlers Community Day program. Towers of packaged diapers, wipes, infant formula (and more) awaited placement into community “care bags” for our local families.
I greeted Roscoe, our dedicated volunteer whose history is entwined with Bayview Mission’s decade-plus roots, only to do a double-take on his beanie. “Your hat!” I exclaimed. My eyes widened and I gave in to laughter as I realized he was modeling one of our donations: a hand-crafted shark beanie that I had made for an event and then donated to Bayview Mission. The Rev. Canon Nina Pickerrell, our fearless and inspiring leader, called out, “Picture for the blog. Take a picture for the blog!” You just never know what you’ll find when we all get together. We work hard but we also connect and build valuable human relationships.
Meanwhile, Steph (our newer volunteer fresh from Australia!) and Cricket (another longtime supporter) created an assembly line and filled over forty bags with supplies and groceries in no time at all. I bow down in homage that they managed to not break a single egg in all the cartons that went to each family. Maria brewed more coffee for our crew and Steph encouraged her with, “We cannot find the meaning of life without coffee. We cannot find the will to go on!” Else set up to receive our families into the community area, organizing the paperwork in the way she is uniquely skilled in. Pablo, Mickey, Luz, Rob, Susan, and Wendy meanwhile worked on various other projects that included sorting donations and hanging jackets, pants, dresses and tops onto clothing racks set out in the sun. Shoes were paired together. Outfits were set out on tables in complete sets. Dishware and books were arranged on picnic tables as our moms joined us for the day. Children slid down the bright yellow slide while moms nursed babies and rocked their little ones under the blue sky.
Bayview Mission’s volunteers greeted both new moms and experienced moms alike and encouraged moms-to-be with babies soon to arrive that will become part of our expanding family. We handed out care bags to forty-eight families. Sometimes our local seniors visit in advance of Bayview Mission’s Senior Program hosted every third Monday of the month and we served twelve who dropped by. Our community day ended with a special treat for our volunteers: fresh honey right off the honeycomb from Nina’s Bayview Mission bees! That’s right: urban bees.
Beyond serving families and seniors, Bayview Mission also introduces local children to the wonders of nature on any given day in addition to every summer with Bee Busy Summer Camp. Further, Bayview Mission is now offering expanded volunteer opportunities every first and fourth Saturday of each month from 10 am to 2 pm so we may continue to expand meeting the needs of our neighborhood residents. Big things are happening at Bayview! The barn is being refurbished to hold more supplies, we have a group transforming a shipping container into an art trailer for the kiddos and much more on the hopeful horizon.