Our spring break trip has provided us with a unique opportunity to get to know some of New York City’s homeless and hungry populations and the organizations that help feed these people. The array of soup kitchens and food pantries allowed us to both evaluate what it means to be impoverished and to discover the best ways that we can help. Throughout the week, we all felt that we were helping on a small scale, adding positivity to someone’s day, but on a grand scale we knew these soup kitchens could have gone on without us. This eye-opening experience has inspired us to continue to work with the hungry population in Maine, especially through the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter, and we now hope to share our experience with others at Colby.
Today everyone arrived back at campus, excited to see friends and refreshed from the week away. Brief interactions with many of my friends helped me realize that I now have so much more to share with them. There are so many untold stories of these homeless New Yorkers and our interactions with them that I hope to tell. From Shelley’s long talk with a woman struggling for a better job to Andy’s walk with a food pantry guest and a box full of food, we now have insight into a world far from Colby.
I won’t give anything away, but we now have plans to communicate our experience with Colby and continue learning from Waterville’s hungry and homeless population. Many thanks to all the people who helped us discover New York through the lens of poverty. We promise to keep exploring these issues and sharing what we find.
A new element to ASB this year was fundraising. Like last year, we wanted to have an alternative spring break trip that was cost free for participants, so that regardless of a student’s socio-economic status, he/she still has the opportunity to participate. Starting at $0, the group raised $3170 in a little over a month. Without the generous contributions of family and friends both on and off campus, we would not have been able to experience what we did over spring break.
While we did not live in poverty this week, by raising money and working with a limited budget, we were able to connect our experience outside of volunteering to the issues we were learning about while volunteering. As leaders, we spent time figuring out how to maximize our funds by buying cheap foods from low-cost sellers. During the week, we ate and reworked leftovers, regardless of how unappetizing they appeared. The places we went, the location where we stayed, and our means of transportation were all low-cost or free. And as we fundraised, every dollar made a difference; we started calculating in terms of how many brownies and cupcakes it would take us to meet our goal.
We were impressed with how flexible, dedicated and responsible each student was to the trip this week. As leaders, it was incredible and rewarding to see the discussions and thoughts unfold and shared throughout the trip. If it weren’t for the students and the supporters, ASB 2011 wouldn’t have materialized. We are so grateful for the greater Colby community and their faith in this project. Thank you.
Kelsey, Larissa, Madi (KLM)