Volunteer Spotlight: Stephanie Bashein Emerson

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Stephanie Bashein Emerson
Stephanie is one of our most dedicated volunteers. She shows up every single week ready to chop, wrap and roll burritos. We are forever grateful for the time and energy she puts into Burrito Brigade. Without volunteers like Stephanie, we would not be able to provide food on the scale that we currently do. Thank you Stephanie!

1. How did you first get involved with BB? “At the beginning of August 2014, I was looking for a way to volunteer in the community. I have certain physical limitations so that pared down my opportunities. I read Lil’s piece in the Eugene Occupier about Burrito Brigade, and that piqued my curiosity. Your email was the one stated in the article to contact, so that’s what I did. You wrote me back and told me all the details, and that next Sunday I went to CJ’s old house. It wasn’t far from my apartment., a rather nice walk really.”

2. What has surprised you most about working with BB? “One of the best things I’ve encounterd with BB is also what has delighted me the most, and that is the number of young people who have volunteered over the past year and a half. High school kids, both individually and in groups, and college students are all amply represented. We even had U of O fraternity Theta Kai show up two Sundays in a row; they were a hoot! It really warms my heart and gives me hope for the future to see so many young people involved. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet many other fellow volunteers and kindred souls, such as the good folks of Foodies, Eugene Avant Gardeners, Occupy Medical, Food Not Bombs and many others. And it also gave me the wonderful opportunity to meet the young people involved with the Lorax Manner and to be able to use their space for BB. This is something I am very thankful for.”

3. The interest in Burrito Brigade seems to be growing. Why do you think that is? “I believe one of the main reasons interest in BB has been growing is the disillusionment many people have with our elected officials, who all seem to be tone deaf or bought outright. So like-minded people have banded together in many places and are addressing these needs of the community as best they can. Here in Eugene, basic needs are being met by groups like BB, Occupy Medical and so many others. People see the success and many want to help, to know that they too are directly helping to sustain their community. This is a growing phenomenon, existing in many places; one notable group is MAN (Mutual Aid Network), in Michigan, which is now greatly assisting overlooked communities with food, jobs, housing and more. Our area is ripe for this kind of direct action, of creating and maintaining a network of functioning grassroots groups that will sustain our community as well. I think it’s this potential for sustainability that draws people to groups like BB: a bottom-up, practical anarchism that will directly assist their community.”