Teens On Fire Create Pop-Up Food Pantry
As Camp Fire Central Oregon's teen service programs have grown over the past few years, we've seen these young people give back to our community in amazing and creative ways.
This 2019-2020 school year was our first year running three different Teens In Action clubs: Firestarters, Teens Ignited, and Teens On Fire. The most intensive of the three groups, Teens On Fire, is for high schoolers with significant volunteer experience who have identified community service as one of their sparks. Members are challenged to take the lead on identifying, planning, and executing all aspects of their service and are encouraged to create long-term projects that will allow them to get more deeply involved with their cause. This year, our inaugural Teens On Fire group of 5 teens were certainly up to the challenge and took their service project to a whole new level.
The group met weekly over the course of 5 months and led the process of designing a project to serve Central Oregon's homeless community. After carefully considering a number of possible causes, they landed on serving those experiencing homelessness because they felt it was the area where they could make a direct impact on the most number of people in our community.
The group worked hard to develop a few possible project ideas before focusing in on hosting a dinner and creating a pop-up food and supply pantry in partnership with the Open Door Cafe. They showed resilience, problem-solving, and dedication when other ideas did not pan out. They set goals, held themselves and each other accountable, and pushed outside of their comfort zones in order to achieve them.
And all this hard work paid off! The teens held food and supply drives, solicited donations from local businesses, and ultimately collected over $700 worth of food, hygiene products, blankets, tents, tarps, pet food, and first aid supplies. And to help pull off the big event, they recruited an additional 10 volunteers.
The reward? The genuine gratitude, warmth, and connections that were shared during their "Open Arms Dinner Party."
The compassion and sense of purpose that these teens led with was inspiring, and a testament to the power of youth!
But enough from us...check out what two of the participants had to say about the experience themselves: