My favorite tradition as a Bethel College soccer player has been volunteering every November at the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) center. The entire team, coaches included, work for several hours together grinding, weighing, canning, cooking and labeling meat.
New players usually dread the thought of assembly line work and food processing. What appears to be tough manual labor, which it technically is at times, turns out to be an incredibly bonding experience for the entire team.
Teammates vary in their responses to the work. Some are incredibly focused on their job and work at an intense pace, while others work with friends and can be seen smiling and laughing throughout the process.
Whatever method you choose to complete the work, you end up feeling accomplished and satisfied by the end of the shift. It has been an absolutely pivotal team bonding moment for the team before we head into another off-season.
However, the greatest value of this event is not in the benefits of the team. The thousands of pounds of meat canned at MCC are sent to impoverished countries where many people struggle to find meals.
It is not just the soccer team who is involved with this process. Mennonite organizations provide several workers who travel with this project across the central USA in order to lead groups in food processing missions. Local community members volunteer their time to work shifts before, after and during the time soccer players are present.
Bethel’s emphasis on serving is not limited to donations and internal service projects. Bethel provides opportunities for students to volunteer their time among the community as we together serve one another, our community, those in need and God.
Until next time-