The Banquet in Sioux Falls serves food and fellowship to some of KELOLAND’s most vulnerable people. Just as many different people from different walks of life come to share a meal, the volunteers have varied backgrounds, too.
On Monday night The Banquet had some unique volunteers from another part of the world, on a mission as international as the trip they’re experiencing.
16 students from Costa Rica, along with four sponsors, are here hosted by the Rock Valley United Reformed Church. 17-year-old Nacho Duran is on the trip, and he’s been in the United States before. It’s probably safe to say he enjoys this country he’s visiting.
“I love, I love, I love the United States,” Duran said in Spanish. “If I didn’t live in Costa Rica, I believe that I would come to live here.”
Johanna Bravo is the principal at his school, where she also teaches.
“We wanted to bring the students who came to do the cultural exchange, so that they can work as volunteers, that they can serve and help other people,” Bravo said in Spanish.
Duran was on the serving line Monday night, and he took time to share with KELOLAND News how it feels to serve.
“When the time comes to serve them I feel good, but also it’s a little hard, because knowing that they don’t have the same resources that one has, it’s a little hard,” Duran said in Spanish.
“We love when young people come and serve guests at The Banquet,” said Madeline Shields, development and marketing director at The Banquet. “It really opens their eyes to the fact that there are people out there that struggle, but they’re no different than you and I.”
“I like that they can see that although we live so far away, and we have very different realities, our social problems in the end continue being very similar,” Bravo said in Spanish.