Meals in the Margins: When Service Leads to Relationship

Student volunteers prepare to deliver care packages to individuals in Northeast Spokane.

January 12, 2021
As a student-led project, Meals in the Margins distributes care packages and hot meals to individuals experiencing homelessness in Northeast Spokane
"We are very much meeting a need when we go out, and that’s important. But we have found that what is even more important is when service leads to relationship. We get to build these relationships, knowing people by their first names and learning their stories. That’s what matters, that's what counts." Michael Larson '21 Senior, Comprehensive Leadership Program

Meals in the Margins is a student-led project that distributes care packages and hot meals to individuals experiencing homelessness in Northeast Spokane. Their goal, however, goes beyond meeting immediate needs and focuses primarily on building meaningful relationships within the local community. Michael Larson, a senior majoring in Sociology and minoring in Leadership Studies, is one of the students championing the project in its now second year. “It all comes down to relationships. It starts in the home, with friends preparing the meals together. Then the outreach team gets to connect and build relationships, not only with the people that we’re serving, but also with one other.”

Since August, Meals in the Margins has been consistently reaching more than 60 individuals per week with a model that places storytelling, quality time and connection-building at the center of civic engagement. With this in mind, Michael and his fellow classmates seek to further pursue structural change and homelessness prevention through a new project, Humanizing Spokane. With plans for documentary-style storytelling and public rallies, Humanizing Spokane will undoubtedly provide another powerful platform for students to participate in the future of Spokane in a meaningful way.

“This is happening in our community, right here, and our mission statement demands that we go out and that we be part of it.”

students cooking meals