My community service project this fall was assisting Darryl Birkenfeld with the Harvest Basket fundraiser with Local Llano. Local producers and small business owners collaborated with Ogallala Commons to provide a wide variety baked goods, wine, vegetables, and jarred produce for the project. In mid-September I met Darryl in Nazareth to help him harvest and clean potatoes and beets for the baskets. I honestly had fun getting my hands dirty digging through the soil collecting our bounty. A couple days later we packed up our supplies and produce and headed to Lubbock, where we set up tables and prepared for the arrival of the other volunteers. While Darryl ran a few errands in town, I organized our equipment and goods, and began setting up the baskets and arranging straw matting in them. Once Darryl returned and the others arrived and we got everything sorted out and began working on the baskets according to customer preferences. After a quick lunch break, we divided into teams and delivered the baskets throughout Lubbock and nearby areas. The deliveries that Darryl and I were in charge of only took a couple hours, but I think I have had enough of Lubbock traffic to last a year or two! When we made it back to our borrowed headquarters we scrambled to pack the last of the baskets into our vehicles and headed for Nazareth. Darryl completed the deliveries in the Nazareth area while I took care of the orders in Hereford.
I chose this project because Darryl mentioned that he needed an extra set of hands for a fundraiser he was organizing, and once he explained the project to me I was in. A service project that involved local producers and business owners collaborating to support OC as well as each other and our communities sounded very appealing. This project was impactful to me personally because I have never been involved in a fundraiser of this proportion. Getting to meet the other volunteers and be hands-on with the baskets and deliveries gave me a sense of purpose, pride, and commonwealth. Our communities benefitted as well because we were able to spread the word of these local businesses who were endeavoring to provide their communities with fresh local products and support one another. We got to meet up with old acquaintances and make new ones all in the name of commonwealth. It was truly rewarding to have the privilege of being a part of this year’s Harvest Basket project.