Bay Area Students Organize Pop Up Soup Kitchen Project

Empowerment. That’s what we strive for at buildOn, and that was the motivation behind a “Pop-Up Soup Kitchen,” inspired, planned, organized and executed by buildOn Bay Area students at Galileo Academy of Science and Technology in March.

The Galileo students fed over 150 hungry people in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district. Now the students now feel inspired to create future service projects they are passionate about, and the students’ perspectives changed about the people living in the Tenderloin, which has a bad reputation. “Everyone was so nice to us and so grateful,” said buildOn member Kendall Yee. “I don’t think of the Tenderloin as a scary place anymore… and I love doing service here.”

The buildOn group’s officers who led the project were inspired by organizations that serve food to those in need in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district – but they wanted to incorporate a mini-kitchen into their plan. So, they come up with a plan to create their own kitchen made up of a table, pots, cups, spoons and a camper stove-top. They hosted a three-week canned food drive in their high school, specifically asking for chicken noodle soup. And soup they received – over a hundred cans of it!

The students felt a sense of ownership while executing their plan from start to finish. They were rewarded by huge smiles by the people they served, humbled by the group’s initiative, said buildOn Program and Service Coordinator Amy Charpentier.

“Our programs are about inspiring students to take action around the issues they are most passionate about,” Amy wrote in an email. “It’s about encouraging student voice and initiative, and this project spoke to the heart’s of my students and to the need of their local communities. Now, my students are inspired more than ever to continue the work they are doing. It has given ‘service’ meaning to them, and I believe that’s what buildOn is all about.”

Learn more about buildOn’s Afterschool Programs here.