A print of St. Thomas More looks over Alison Hicks’ shoulder as she gives a thumbs up for Linnett Edwards, master of the tortilla griddle, and Leo Billman. (Courtesy St. Thomas More Newman Center)
A print of St. Thomas More looks over Alison Hicks’ shoulder as she gives a thumbs up for Linnett Edwards, master of the tortilla griddle, and Leo Billman. (Courtesy St. Thomas More Newman Center)
EUGENE — “Service has always been a part of my life,” said Alison Hicks as she explained her participation in a recent activity.

Hicks was one of the student members of the St. Thomas More Newman Center in Eugene preparing a hot meal for residents of Everyone Village, a fledgling new community in Eugene. The carefully planned community provides a supportive environment for unsheltered individuals and families so they can have safe housing and a way forward in their lives. More than a dozen local organizations work together on the project to bring joy and help villagers on their way to a successful future. Villagers are invited to a community meeting mid-day each Thursday, the day's meal offering a special incentive for Village residents to participate.

The Newman Center students provided the repast on May 5, with Corinne Lopez, director of faith formation, cheering them on.

Regarding the meal provided by the Newman students, Everyone Village staff member Gina Piechowicv reported that 41 villagers attended the meeting — a record high. “They loved the burritos, chips and salsa, and mini pies,” Piechowicv said. “As you can imagine, lunch during meetings is a wonderful way to enjoy time together. For the villagers, it often is their only warm meal for the week, so it is very appreciated.”

The service allowed the students to express their faith and care for their neighbors in the Catholic tradition of the corporal works of mercy.

Linnett Edwards, another student member, put it this way: “Helping feed the hungry is not only about giving to those in need, it is an opportunity to reflect on the blessings we have. As college students it can be easy to feel helpless as we get caught up in the struggles that come with adjusting to adult life. These events act as reminders that we can make a difference when offering our time and talents to serve God through others.”