Alternative Spring Break: Day 4 – Nicholas

On day 4, we actually split into two groups and volunteered in two different places. The place that my group went and volunteered is a place in Northern Staten Island and is run by Project Hospitality. Project Hospitality is essentially a food bank and soup kitchen that helps not only the underprivileged and poor get food in Staten Island but has also been busier than ever in helping the victims of hurricane Sandy.

While volunteering here my job was primarily to aid in lifting donated food out of the trucks and bringing it to the storage room, and I was what they call a “runner” which is essentially a go between the first and second floor. My primary task as a “runner” was to aid in the transport of groceries from the upstairs store downstairs to where it was sorted and checked out by other volunteers. After doing this I assisted as a server when they opened up the soup kitchen portion.

One thing that struck me while volunteering here is just how much goes into keeping a place like this running to serve the community and the importance of volunteers in places like this. One needs people to help the customers who can’t read or speak English very well to shop, people  to lift things from donated food and put them into proper places, and others to make sure all of the food is sorted and goes to the proper person. There are so many jobs that need to be done that it is almost impossible to keep these places running without the aid of volunteers.

After getting back to Pace we began a workshop on how to write an effective letter to an elected official expressing not only our experience but also in conveying our opinions to them. This was the final day of ASB 2013 it was a great experience helping in the recovery efforts of this storm and at the same time it was also heart breaking. Having grown up in Florida hurricanes are a part of life and having lived through Katrina and dozens of other storms I know how hard it can be for people affected to put their lives back in order. I can only imagine how hard it is for the people of Staten Island to deal with this and I can only hope that the people affected by Sandy experience the speediest recovery possible given the resources available.