Writeup by Death by Dollface
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. – Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963
Conquering injustice was the prescribed theme of the La Mesa Verde service project at Sacred Heart Community Service Center (SHCS) project that ten Silicon Valley Roller Girls affiliates, including skaters Death by Dollface, Kimfectious, Smash ‘n’ Burn, Smack Dahlia, MaulyAnna, and Lucia took on this 2010 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Sacred Heart’s representative, Todd Madigan, used the above qutoe as his opening words. The center has been given many accolades in the local community for their newest venture to provide for the many families of the San Jose community including articles in the San Jose Mercury News and even the New York Times.
We began the day bright and early arriving at the SHCS downtown home base at 9 a.m. There was a line of volunteers waiting to check in wrapped around the outside of the building despite the torrential downpour that didn’t show any signs of letting up. We were divided into over 25 groups mixed with other groups more prepared with garden tools to prepare for digging planter boxes into local community homes.
Our task was simple. We were given two homes where we would be preparing planter boxes that teams would later return to install drip systems and plant vegetable gardens in hopes of sustaining a local community with food. Sounds simple? This was hard work! Our first site was a beautiful grass lawn that we had to dig up which the rain made it very difficult to penetrate. The rain subsided for us at the second house which helped and the family already had a skeleton of a garden with rich soil that just needed to be trenched to lay the planter boxes. It’s a good thing we have lots of mud experience from our annual mud wrestling!
Since SHCS encourages reflection with their work, I thought I would leave you with some thoughts. As Todd described the impact of what the La Mesa Verde project had on the local community he explained how much these seemingly small boxes (6′ x 3′ planters) produce for the families that are not able to purchase adequate nutrients for the their families. The families that are being given the tools and taught to produce their own gardens will be able to grow enough produce to not only feed themselves but extend to their neighbors and friends. SHCS’s number of families served has grown in masses over the past years where a standard soup kitchen setup is not adequate to serve the growing need. If five hours of our time can help sustain a small community, that is well worth my time.