March 2017 – Volunteers of the Month: Eastern Michigan University

20170222_155326We recently hosted an Alternative Break with students from Eastern Michigan University who were visiting Worcester County in order to learn more about food justice.  These students took this time away from school to have meaningful discussion and immersion into the non-profit world in order to learn more about those who help to provide food to communities in need.  During their time with us they helped to prepare the greenhouses for spring planting, helped us to get caught up on some backlogged office tasks and spent some time at the orchard helping to prepare mouse guards for our thousands of trees.  In addition they visited several of our partner organizations to learn about the many facets of the challenging issues surrounding food insecurity.  They were able to tour the Worcester County Food Bank, worked in the kitchen with Community Servings, helped stock the food pantry and assist some of the recipients of food relief at Jeremiah’s Inn and ate lunch at Café Reyes a program of the Hector Reyes House.   

IMG_1560These students represented all four classes from EMU, Stephen Elugbemi – 2017, Tamara Washington – 2017, Louise Barbosa – 2017, Joshua Plonka – 2017, Kenadi Jefferson – 2018, Nolan Peterson – 2019 and Mariah McHaffie – 2020.  We truly enjoyed hosting this experience for them and feel lucky to have learned as much as they did from their impressions of the work that we do and the community in which we serve.  We would like to give them a rousing round of applause for their interest in learning more about food justice and the non-profit world.  They all showed great potential and desire to go back to their home communities to “Plant a Seed” and make a difference!  

Here are just some of the impressions that they had during their quick visit to our community:

  • About Community Harvest Project; “This organization does some amazing work with some great partners.  The heart of every organization is the leadership, and working with them has made working on the farm a fun experience that we have looked forward to taking part in.  It was surprising to us that this team was so dedicated to teaching us everything about the farm and the community, it was hard to believe that they could be equally invested in the thousands of people who come to their farm every year.  However, these days of service working side by side proves that love for the work has created a deep love for the people involved, and we have never met a more passionate group.”
  • Visiting Community Servings; “Being in a high production kitchen was amazing, but knowing where the produce is sourced as well as where it will end up enriched the experience deeply.  It was also an opportunity to meet other volunteers who had various reasons for choosing to serve their community; this strengthened my purpose as well. This activity was the most direct impact I feel I have made within this week-long experience.”
  • “Overall, this week has provided an opportunity for each of us to understand the amount of work and effort that these non-profits commit themselves to in not only building their organizations, but interacting with their communities at all levels and in every possible way.  This experience has stressed how a large movement starts by just one person dedicating their time to positively impact their environment.  While no organization is perfect, our group was able to create, from these experiences, new ideas about how we can help our own communities when we return home.”

    Read the rest of the March Sprout!

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