More than 70 members of the Emmanuel community participated in this year's Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program, which sent groups of students and staff to service sites in Phoenix, Ariz., Wheeling, W.V., New Orleans, L.A., and around the city of Boston during the week of March 10th.
For the 11th-consecutive year, the Phoenix group served at Andre House, a nonprofit organization sponsored by the Priests and Brothers of Holy Cross from the University of Notre Dame that serves the poor and homeless, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, a Catholic lay organization. The team worked directly with the Andre House staff doing office work, laundry, clothes sorting and distribution and food preparation and service. With St. Vincent De Paul, volunteers spent the week performing several different tasks, including: food preparation and service, working in their thrift stores and containerizing in their food bank.
In Wheeling, W.V., the group worked with the Laughlin Memorial Chapel, located in the urban core of Wheeling. Volunteers helped in the renovation of deteriorating housing within the town, participated in the Chapel's daily after-school program featuring academic enrichment programs, an achievement program, art and music enrichment programs, and evening youth programs, and also provided service at the Catholic Neighborhood Center, a soup kitchen next to the Chapel.
The New Orleans crew spent the week working with the St. Bernard Project, a nonprofit organization that helps to rebuild the homes of senior citizens, people with disabilities and families with children affected by Hurricane Katrina who can't afford to have their homes rebuilt by contractors. To date, the organization has rebuilt 475 homes for residents in St. Bernard Parish that were still occupying FEMA trailers or other federal housing.
In collaboration with the Colleges of the Fenway, Emmanuel hosted the Boston ASB group that focused on "Food Justice," a goal that seeks to ensure that the benefits and risks of where, what and how food is grown, produced, transported, distributed, accessed and eaten are shared fairly. During the week, the group learned about Boston's ReVision Urban Farm, an organization that provides information about healthy eating and sustainable farming, as well as free or affordable produce to the residents of ReVision Family Home in Dorchester and to the surrounding community. The group also volunteered at St. Francis House, the Greater Boston Food Bank, Franciscan Food Center and OLPH Mission Grammar's After School Program.
Check out photos from the different ASB sites on our Pinterest page!