Volunteer Spotlight: Kendra Lady

Just as sure as our burritos are vegan, so is it safe to bet that Kendra Lady had a role (roll? haha) in making them on any given Sunday. She has been one of our most consistent and dedicated volunteers since she first started helping this summer. We are all in awe of her unbounded energy, her thoughtfulness, and her killer knife skills. She is also a natural leader, willing to step up as a leader for walking distribution if we’re ever in a pinch. Recently we had a chance to ask Kendra a few questions so we could all get to know her a little better…

1. Tell us a little about yourself first. When you’re not busy making hundreds of burritos for the hungry, what do you do for work, school, hobbies, etc.?
When I’m not fine-tuning my burrito-rolling skills, I am staying busy with my fourth year of college—I’m a full-time student at the University of Oregon, majoring in dance (I’ve been dancing for about 14 years now) and planning to graduate in spring 2017. I work part-time as a nanny and also take on other occasional babysitting jobs, as I love spending time with kids of all ages. Some of my other hobbies include cooking/creating my own vegan recipes, dancing, watching sci-fi TV shows (such as The X Files and Doctor Who), hiking, reading, and listening to a wide variety of music—everything from 80’s rock to Broadway songs to classical music. I also greatly enjoy writing, whether for college papers, Facebook posts, or on my personal blog—at some point in the future I hope to combine my passions for writing and cooking in order to write my own vegan cookbook. It’s a long-term goal that will require me to actually have photography skills, but maybe someday…

2. How did you first find out about Burrito Brigade?
I first heard about Burrito Brigade through an article in Elephant Journal ( http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/11/building-community-one-burrito-at-a-time/ ), and began volunteering in June 2015. I had been seeking out volunteering opportunities in Eugene, and this one sounded like a wonderful way to get involved in the community. It has been incredibly exciting to see how the Burrito Brigade has grown and developed over the past several months, and I have met some truly dedicated, passionate, and kind people since then.

3. What’s your favorite memory of Burrito Brigade?
One of my favorite memories is when I was out distributing burritos downtown and one man on the street, after getting a burrito, gave me a tape measurer as a thank-you gift, telling me “You never know when you’ll need one.” I was deeply touched by his generosity and thoughtfulness, as I have been several times during my encounters with both the recipients of the burritos and my fellow volunteers. That being said, every week brings new memories to cherish, and I probably have enough “favorite” memories to fill a book right now. Or at least an essay.

4. What would you tell people who are thinking about volunteering for Burrito Brigade? What do you think they would get out of the experience?
I would tell them that there is no time to waste—come out and join our volunteer team! I would also tell them that a good sense of humor is appreciated, but certainly not required. As for what they can get out of the experience, I think that depends on the person, but it is definitely a fantastic opportunity to feed the hungry people in our community, develop valuable teamwork skills, become more aware of the issues surrounding homelessness in Eugene, and interact with all of the other wonderful volunteers, each of whom brings a unique set of skills and knowledge to the table—both literally and metaphorically in this case! I think that many people tend to make assumptions about homeless people without even bothering to meet them and hear their stories first, and volunteering for Burrito Brigade gives you a chance to do both, while also providing these same people with delicious and nutritious vegan burritos.

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