Building Sandwiches and Interfaith Relationships

January 28, 2013

This post was written by Dionysios Koroulakis, Georgetown College Class of 2014 and vice-president of Georgetown's Orthodox Christian Fellowship.

Once a week students from various faith groups such as the Orthodox Christian Fellowship, Knights of Columbus, Catholic Daughters, Jewish Student Association, Muslim Student Association, and Buddhist Meditation Sangha gather in the Village C Alumni Lounge for an industrious 40 minutes of sandwich making. The effort, producing roughly 180 sandwiches a week (at this time), is funded by those students’ own $5 contributions, a symbolic sum to highlight the necessity of personal sacrifice in service, and additional funding from Campus Ministry. Representatives of the faith groups deliver the meals to the nearby Georgetown Ministry Center—a center that cares for the needs of local homeless men and women. The center’s program director recently sent us a humbling message stating, "the sandwiches we pass out are the homeless members’ lunch... they are sometimes the only food they receive during the day," emphasizing the real and immediate difference this project can make in the lives of those without food and homes.
The interfaith sandwich project has humble origins. It started as a small service activity that would follow our weekly Orthodox Christian evening prayer service held in Copley Crypt. The effort was based in my apartment, and with my roommate Alex the 50-80 sandwiches produced would be delivered via scooters to the homeless center the next morning. Soon, other Georgetown faith groups joined, and through the support of Campus Ministry the project expanded to its current size. A typical student’s daily schedule is filled with academic, professional, and social commitments, so it is not always easy to spare an evening hour. Yet hunger in the city is a persistent problem, and our spiritual journeys are ongoing, so students show up every week to participate; it is a testament to the dedication of the students that we are able to consistently conduct this undertaking. I believe this endeavor is what busy service-minded students have been looking for: a conveniently located, meaningful, and fun way to put service and faith values into action—service and faith values that unite people from all backgrounds. This project greatly reflects the capacity of students from different faith backgrounds to unite in service to others.

Beyond its material contribution to alleviating immediate hunger, we hope that interfaith sandwich making is also a learning experience for its participants. For all of our blessings here, it would be easy to overlook the socioeconomic inequality that pervades our nation, our city, and our Georgetown neighborhood. Few of us have experienced true hunger, so the weekly gathering functions as a reminder that this issue still surrounds us. In our endeavor to help the least among us, we have found friendship and cooperation in Hoyas from other faith traditions and have all deepened our own understanding of the meaning of service.
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Building Sandwiches and Interfaith Relationships