Linfield College students and staff completed a total of 1,162 hours of community service in the Alternative Spring Break program this year.
The locations for service included Tacoma, Wash., New Orleans and Portland.
In Tacoma, students and faculty participated on the construction of four homes and worked with Habitat for Humanity homeowners.
The New Orleans team worked on the construction of a home in the Holly Grove district, which is located in the 17th ward, also with Habitat for Humanity. The team completed work on the floor of the home and framed and raised its walls.
Senior Rachel Mills was part of the New Orleans team and said that seeing the destruction New Orleans is still faced with hit home for her.
“The contrast between seeing the devastation and building the new house was powerful to me,” Mills said.
She also mentioned that she could not see herself spending her Spring Break any other way after her experience with the program.
“It’s worth it. I don’t think I could go back to a normal Spring Break,” she said.
Aside from working on the construction of a home, the New Orleans team also visited the St. Bernard community center, which is a service center for low income people, said Community Service Coordinator Jessica Wade, who was an adviser to the team.
While at the St. Bernard Community Center, the team helped fill the food pantry and planted a community garden.
“The most rewarding part was to witness their transformation, their understanding of the importance of service and the sense of selflessness that they were adapting throughout the week,” Wade said of her team of students.
Senior Kady Kirkendall was part of the Portland service team.
“We mostly wanted to get people familiar with what Portland has to offer to the homeless as far as different resources,” Kirkendall said.
While in Portland, the team made and served meals at the Blanchet House, a soup kitchen that also offers homeless people temporary housing in return for work in the kitchen, she said.
The team worked at Blanchet House for three days and served 300 meals each day. The group also spent time one-on-one with the homeless, by talking and playing games.
“It was great to see the human beings behind the stereotypes,” Kirkendall said.
For more information about Alternative Spring Break, contact Jessica Wade at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chelsea Bowen/Opinion editor
Chelsea Bowen can be reached at email@example.com.