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Spartans Perform Service During the Pandemic

Spartans Perform Service During the Pandemic
Posted on 06/02/2021
Cavanaugh and Reno

Last fall the challenge facing Immaculata’s nationally recognized Campus Ministry Service Program was harnessing the phenomenal dedication and energy of its student volunteers, while creating COVID-safe programs to help our local poor and marginalized. As the school year winds down, the consensus is that through inspired leadership, prayer, and the immense flexibility and patience of the Spartans, the efforts were amazingly successful.

The kickoff occurred last July when a new program, Mission Possible, was unveiled. For generations many Immaculata students headed to Wayne County, West Virginia, to help with construction projects for a week-long summer mission. In 2020 through Mission Possible supervised students devoted their efforts to the Garden State; on their agenda were painting a church parking lot, gathering fresh produce for area soup kitchens and pantries, preparing food trays, planting flowers at local ARC group homes, and delivering donated items to thrift stores.

When the school bells rang in September the 150+ traditional volunteer initiatives were whittled down, focusing on campus projects and outdoor activities. Since the school debuted its block scheduling program, this allowed students bigger time segments to volunteer during the school day. Eleven innovative initiatives, called Take Out Service, were piloted as student-generated volunteer activities.

Very popular is Student Chefs, in which a Spartan prepares a dish for Samaritan Homeless Interim Program’s (SHIP) mobile soup truck or Somerville’s Agape House, a transitional residence for the disadvantaged. Another is K-Cups ‘n’ Flix, in which coffee grounds are scooped from used K-cups for the school’s compost garden. Invent Your Service is an additional exciting development, in which students customize their service contributions. Among the highlights were students who donated proceeds from snow shoveling or leaf raking, wrote letters of holiday cheer, woodchipped branches or even mapped out the best decorated holiday homes for local families.

Immaculata maintained its strong connections with Catholic Charities, SHIP, Agape House, and Pregnancy Aid Center. Incredibly, the student body collected 900 pounds of food for the Spartan Spirit Challenge last month alone. Rescuing furniture and repurposing it for those in need remains a huge priority. But Campus Ministry, the mainstay of the school’s Pillar of Service, also forged new community ties. Through Feeding Hands of Raritan, students prepared food packages for the needy. Immaculata has joined forces with projects for The Hunterdon Chamber of Commerce. A new connection was established with the Community Food Bank of Hillside.

Service Service