MOHAWK—Sophomore Ashley Walker is approaching her 10th year of volunteering at the weekly Friday night West County Community Meal at Trinity Church.
She tells her friends, “The good feeling I get after volunteering is indescribable. Oftentimes it’s a struggle for families or individuals to enjoy a healthy, home-cooked meal and good company. I’ve developed memorable relationships with each of the diners, and we treat one another just like family.”
For anyone new to the supper, she promises a warm welcome:
“We’re always looking for more volunteers and workers. Feel free to contact me about lending a helping hand.”
Ashley attended BSE from pre-K through 6th grade and says she loved it, particularly the community service aspect.
Asked her views on community service during a break in her lifeguard duties at the Buckland Rec one day this summer, she said participating in BSE’s recycling program, where students took the initiative to go room to room collecting recycling bins at the end of every day, made a lasting impression.
“I was inspired by so many people. I looked for ways to contribute to the community ever since, and the community meal is so big to me.”
She credits her elementary school teachers for leaving her with the drive to get involved.
“I loved BSE. Teachers still stay in contact with me. If they see me on the street or something they’ll have the biggest grin on their face.”
At the community meal, Ashely says, volunteers serve 40 to 60 people a week. She puts in four to five hours a shift. The meals themselves are prepared by different West County groups.
Ashley also gives her all playing field hockey but makes sure to fit the community meal into her schedule. It’s tough but I love it. I’ve written several articles [for school] on community service and the community meal,” she says.
Her life plans include joining the Air Force as a critical-care nurse, and she’s taking advanced coursework now to prepare.
Naturally, she’s also focused on doing good right here at home, hoping to inspire kids to get involved where they can:
“I don’t think many people realize how much the community needs your help — teenagers especially.”
Trinity Church is at 17 Severance St. For more information, call 625-2341.