Metro students embark on one-day alternative spring break

Metro students volunteer at food bank

Metropolitan Campus students Nafijur Dalim, Malaysia Morrison, Lauren Zanca, Micaiah Sandoval, Caitlin Gilmore, Jonathan Berrios (not pictured: Amanda Salazar) and Tim Fann, assistant director of student life for programming, recently spent a day volunteering at a food bank in Newark, N.J. (Photo courtesy of the Office of Student Life)

Editor’s note: A small group of students from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Metropolitan Campus set out to volunteer at three locations in Newark, N.J., over spring break 2017. Unfortunately, Winter Storm Stella had different plans, and as such, the volunteers shortened their week of service to one day of service at a food bank. It was short but sweet, and meaningful. Sophomore biology major Lauren Zanca shares her reaction to the experience here.

Some people might think that in mid-March we wouldn’t have to worry about the weather stopping us from volunteering, but this year’s alternative spring break trip had to be cut short a couple of days because of the snow storm. However, it did not stop a handful of volunteers to truly committing going, even if just for a day.

On Monday morning, before the snow hit, all the volunteers got up bright and early to get to FDU, pile in the bus and begin the 30-minute drive to Newark, N.J., to volunteer at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey. When we arrived, we were all assigned to do a job and we realized the impact of how something so small could have so much significance to someone.

While sitting folding ShopRite bags, and conversing with my peers, I really began to think about how much people would really appreciate the deed we were doing.

The food bank staff told us that these bags would go to people and elderly couples, and would provide food for them. In the bag was a reference guide for various meals and with healthy choices of fruits and vegetables to eat. Families could use it as a reference for what to put into their bodies, healthier choices. What I thought was extremely different and very thoughtful is that one side was in English and one side in Spanish. It goes to show all the variations of people who will benefit from the service, and how it is strategic to aim to help all ethnic backgrounds.

Metro student volunteers

FDU volunteers fold and organize donation bags and nutrition reference guides. (Photos courtesy of Tim Fann)

The first, and unfortunately final, day of the trip was a great one, to say the least. After we left the food bank, we went out to eat, and even had leftover food to enjoy during the snowstorm.

Why would someone want to give up their spring break, and their time to kick back and relax to do community service? The answer for me was a simple one — I know that I would not have been doing anything more useful with my time if I were at home. I would have finished a couple of Netflix series and probably napped. This, what we all did, for even a short amount of time, was truly rewarding.

As students, we do not realize how blessed and fortunate we really are every day, and take simple luxuries for granted — being able to go to school, have a roof over our heads, and know what we are going to eat for dinner. There are thousands of people who don’t have the access to these things that we take for granted.

I was extremely happy when I was granted the opportunity to be a part of this experience. Although, yes, it was cut short, I gained a lot from the time that we had with each other. I think that anyone who has the opportunity and the desire to go should go. It will widen your view and perception of people who are less fortunate. It was truly an incredible experience, and I hope to go again next year.