The idea came from Charlene Elvers.
She always told me that you do not have to go far to help.
There is plenty of volunteering that can be done in our own community. After traveling on a service trip to Guatemala last spring break, I came back this year with the idea of having a group of students stay in Springfield for spring break.
Our amazing group this year was; Francesca Mack, Emily Bellin, Alexa de Villier, Erin McManus, Emily Giardino, Kimberly Thompson, and Courtney Rivest. Every single one of them put their whole heart into this week.
Our first day was spent at the former rectory Springfield College recently bought with plans to be a center for community engagement.
Charlene was sharing some of her ideas for what could happen with the space throughout our time here. The home is about 100 years old and is absolutely beautiful, full of character and potential; our group raved about this space.
Having this as our first task of the week, set a light hearted mood for our time together, but still reinforced hard manual labor may be required. We laughed as we broke down desks and discovered hidden gems.
Sunday we branched out from campus and joined Bill Toller and the Sandwich Ministry at Holy Cross Church. We were welcomed by the whole group and put right to work. We made over 400 sandwiches in about 45 minutes. Then we jumped in cars and delivered the sandwiches. At first we were so excited to see them so excited to have us, but we reflected on this more. We realized that they were so excited to have Springfield College with them because we aren’t here as much as we could be.
We were the ones that were excited to be helping and they were just as excited to have more volunteers. Then we made our way to Friends of the Homeless to serve dinner. Even though the kitchen manager, Nelson, was not expecting us, he found plenty for us to do.
Monday, we spent our day at the Gray House.
Putting our cleaning and organization skills to the test, we tackled their food pantry. The rest of the day we spent learning and participating with the Kids Club.
Our last day was full of painting at the Lion’s Den
One of the best parts of the trip was not the service we did, but the people we met along the way. We showed up as strangers, but left as friends.
Our group wanted to make an impact.
The biggest impact, however was the people and their stories on us. Coming back to East Campus every night reminded us that this is our community. This is part of our home, part of our college.
Over Spring break we saw the city of Springfield.
We saw the amazing organizations and how they are giving back to our community.
We saw the ways we can connect with our city.
We saw Springfield in a positive eye and challenged each other to spread that positivity around campus.