search icon

July 7 | July 8 | July 9 | July 10 | July 11 | July 12 | July 13 |

July 7

We made it! We have successfully arrived at our wonderful hosts for our time in Salinas, the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd. After enjoying some dinner on the road, unloading and organizing our food for the week, we got to settle in for the week, thanks to the awesome facilities manager, Traci! 

After that, we sat to watch East of Salinas and learn about just one family’s story as a family of undocumented migrant workers in Salinas, and the unique and unjust challenges they face as they strive for a more financially stable future for their family. This week, we will serve with and learn from one of our society’s most integral communities, and deepen the understanding of our roles towards restorations as followers of Christ. 

Today, we are off to meet with our partners here in Salinas, volunteering with the local schools hosting the Summer Education Program for migrant worker families and Dorothy’s Kitchen, a kitchen serving food to the unhoused and those experiencing food instability.

Please keep this wonderful group of youth and advisors in your prayers as they travel and serve in uniquely Christian ways in Salinas and San Diego!

July 8

Our first full day in Salinas was a blast! Everyone groggily woke up from a rough first night of sleep in a new place and slowly enjoyed our breakfast. Then our group split up into two teams, and one went off to Dorothy’s Kitchen, while another headed off to Los Padres Elementary School.

At Dorothy’s Kitchen, the team helped the organization with their daily breakfast and lunch services serving the local unhoused community members. Levi and Jake chatted with some community members while they helped bus tables. We also got to help clean up the already-rough living conditions on the streets around Dorothy’s Kitchen, and Josh was a champ using both the broom and the “picker!” Sarah and Rhian felt the loving responsibility and pressure of serving up the main entrée of the meal – “we’re stressed, it’s a big job!” they clamored, while doing an incredible job serving! We will be back each day to Dorothy’s Kitchen to continue building out our relationship with this community.

At Los Padres, we got to help the awesome teachers lead and teach their summer education programs, including, reading, art, and music. The wonderful students from the migrant service center declared Ashlyn, “la reina,” the queen,  of our musical game! Katie was gifted a fairy wand and Magdalena received about 50 bracelets from different students and ended up with an armful of colorful expressions of appreciation by the end of the day. The boys in the class appreciated Rio’s and John’s soccer skills and shared love for Cristiano Ronaldo. Mostly, we were happy that we were able to be there with the youth, and help the incredible teachers with their beautiful ministry. 

Our evening ended with a surprise visit from Jose Anzalado, the star of the the documentary we watched yesterday evening! He joined us for dinner and even hooped with some of our boys before sharing his story and journey as an undocumented student from elementary through college at UC Berkeley. It was a blessing to hear from him, grounding the often abstract and distant stories with a personal touch! We hope and pray Jose will continue to be a part of our LOPC Youth Ministry family for years to come. 

Tomorrow, the teams will swap and get to have their own experiences with Dorothy’s Kitchen and the students at Los Padres! Pray for the youth’s open hearts to receive God’s seeds being planted throughout this week!

July 9

What a day of service today! The team at Dorothy’s Kitchen was well-received after our youth’s impressive stint yesterday. This new group jumped right into the breakfast service, serving out hot bowls of brown sugar oatmeal and pastries to the community. Orlando, the kitchen manager for the day, kept us busy with the important daily tasks such as cleaning the floors, sweeping the streets, and reorganizing their pantries. Daisy, a local volunteer, was an amazing leader in the kitchen and helped us feel immediately comfortable serving to the community. Preston was finally able to join us this morning – thank you to the Hilsabeck’s for delivering our donations to Dorothy’s Kitchen this morning! We prayed over all the staff at Dorothy’s Kitchen on this last day and we hope that LOPC will continue this relationship in the future! 

The students at Los Padres Elementary School were so excited to welcome a new batch of LOPC HS youth. Sarah, Jake, Josh, Rhian, and Levi jumped right into the action getting to know as many of the students as they could. Sarah was silently voted la reina of the day when they decided to make their group circles surrounding her! We will be returning to Los Padres tomorrow to work with all the various summer programs they have going on, and we will get to meet so much of the wider school community! 

After our morning service, we visited the organic farms in ALBA (Agricultural and Land Based Training Association), where Antonio and Amelia (unconfirmed spelling) spoke to us about their land-based organic farming education program serving limited-resource migrant families.  We then went on a tour of the grounds and were invited to taste some of Amelia’s tomatoes. After visiting her plots, we pulled out weeds growing in the peppers and corn crops that ALBA sells to help cover the facility and grounds maintenance costs. It was a wonderful visit there, and we got a very small yet helpful glimpse of the hard labor that goes on each day in the agricultural industry. 

Tomorrow we will be working on a restoration of Santa Rita Creek, planting native plants, weeding out the nearby gardens, and learning about building sustainable agricultural infrastructure in the city of Salinas.

July 10

We had a fabulous day! It all started by returning, as a whole group this time, to Los Padres Elementary School just after 8:30am, where we assisted the children there with sports, math, art, lunchtime and music activities. We stayed at the school site until 1:00pm and then headed out for Santa Rita Creek Park. 

At the park we partnered up with land activists and ecologists working with Sustainable Salinas. We spent several hours learning a great deal about native plants and what we can do to protect them. Our project goal was to sheet mulch alongside a creek and provide space for an eventual food forest that is being cultivated there. Our team worked very hard in the hot sun weeding and pulling exusting trash out of the watershed area. We did a lot!

After that we headed back to the church for some rest before the boys cleaned all the bathrooms and the ladies prepared an amazing spaghetti dinner. They even topped it off with ice cream and freshly baked cookies!

Tomorrow we will be heading back to Los Padres one last time before our drive to San Diego in the afternoon! Please continue to pray for the team and the partners we are serving alongside. 

July 11

Hello beloved LOPC community! Today we spent the morning and early afternoon at Los Padres Elementary School partnering with Migrant Services. It is such a delight to be with the children and staff there again.

Unfortunately, Border Angels had to cancel the water drop due to unforseen circumstances, so we decided to stay in Salinas and serve at the school and also help with a Food Bank distribution program. 

We are over the moon for the time we have spent in wonderful company here in Salinas. It has been a heartwarming, fun and deeply meaningful experience rooted in faith and trust, even despite the last minute changes. We are extremely glad to have this opportunity to connect with the local community in Salinas.

July 12

Week of service complete!!! We began the day by returning to Los Padres Elementary School where we interacted with the youth and staff within the Migrant Services program. It was extremely impactful and memorable to get to know them and form friendships together across differences and language barriers. 

While we were at the school, Keris was supporting one of the Food Bank’s distribution sites, which is located at the church’s campus at which we have been honored to stay. After the summer program at the school wrapped up, we headed to the Monterey Bay Aquairium for an afternoon of fun, learning and fellowship!

We then drove back to the church in Salinas to enjoy a bit of pizza and our final small group. Tonight we hope to get some much needed rest so in the morning we can rise early in order to get to LOPC around noon. 

We much appreciate everyone who made this trip possible and we want to say a big thank you. Please continue to hold our group and the partners we served with and learned from in your prayers and minds as we prepare to head home. 

-Blog post by Magdalena Meyers-Dahlkamp (she/her) 

July 13

Today we woke up, packed up, and said goodbye to Tracie, our contact at the church, and headed out to Dorothy’s Kitchen. Once at Dorothy’s, we donated all the hygiene and food supplies we were going to give to day laborers in San Diego and on the water drop in the desert. The staff gave the supplies out at lunch today to all their guests, so that worked out well.

After that we drove all the way back to LOPC, unloaded, and went home. We are all back safe and sound now. 

Thank you for all of your prayers, support and encouragement over the last week. We are so proud of the youth and how they connected together and showed up for our partners in Salinas this week! Please continue to pray for the team, our partners, and the whole community of Salinas. Thank you!