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  • Writer's pictureJules Arata

the city that built her

Updated: Apr 25

Darien, CT



i got to walk into this event looking at it through a unique lens. i was going to my college roommate's hometown. since i had found out two months prior that i was going to be working this event, i had already connected with her and she responded in the best way. with matched excitement and a list a mile long of food/coffee suggestions.


event bonus: we had almost an entire day of free time to adventure the Connecticut area, something that i had been praying about before i got there. i prayed that i would be present this weekend in a different way, that i would be hyper-aware of where i was and what i was experiencing. i wanted this to be my heart posture as i didn't want to miss the significance of this moment. that significance: that i got to witness the town that made a woman who changed my life.


getting to sit in a coffee shop, imagining the high school version of her laughing with her friends. walking by her favorite bakery, picturing her picking out a cinnamon roll or croissant before school. having the realization while driving, that this could've been her commute to school, or passing the diner she would have cast dinners at on performance days. every corner, building, sign, and turn was steeped in memory and sentimentality.


just because of the way my brain works, i love learning how things work behind-the-scenes, and the why behind what we do. and in CT, i got to learn so much of this from shadowing my supervisor. how humbling it is to be invited into decisions and conversations as a leader, to be entrusted with the responsibility to lead.


a cool thing about this event is that the main host is a high school student. she was in charge of organizing everything, from volunteer sign ups, to rentals, and even communicating with us! she added this new energy to the event and it was just so impactful for me to see a kid leading the charge to feed kids.


what i learned


  1. a lot of time and intentionality goes into the paperwork

  2. the space that CT already took up in my heart grew by 5x

  3. i really love a hometown visit


how i grew


growing in this new role has been so stretching, which has been my daily prayer for the year: to be stretched into who the Lord has created me to be


favorite parts


watching a grandpa race his granddaughter to the ice cream parlor


meeting a high school girl in CT that went to the same elementary school and transferred to the same college prep school in TX as me


being able to sit by a fireplace in a local coffeeshop


STATS


volunteers: 450

boxes packed: 468

meals packed: 101,088

kids fed daily meal for a year: 276


to friends of Darien,


thank you for going above & beyond in every way this weekend! very thankful for how eagerly you stepped up to help volunteers and us so that the event would run smoothly. you made Connecticut feel like a second home, full of servant-hearted people who radiate joy. i feel blessed to have served alongside you this weekend, joining together to feed His kids in body and spirit! may we meet again.

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