Where many college students use Spring Break to catch up on class work, rest, or attempt a vacation, 12 WCC students took a different route or an Alternative Spring Break (ASB). This trip allowed the college students to engage themselves in community-based services and learn about issues that impact members of society.

For the college’s first ASB, it meant that there was a revival of the community service club, Making A Difference. The focused theme was the issue of food insecurity, which engaged students within the local community through volunteer opportunities from March 11 to 14.

“It was a humbling experience to watch something I was a part of planning come to life,” said Ashley Joseph, one of the student leaders who helped with logistics of the experience along with the advisors, Rachele Hall and Tiago Machado. “ASB has allowed me to meet those in our community who are currently food [and/or] home insecure. Hearing the stories of these brave individuals and getting a quick glimpse into their life made me realize that my struggles could be far worse.”

By means of engagement, the ASB members were able to witness firsthand the faces of those affected by food insecurity, and ways to combat the social issue.

“I realized just how much offering your time can actually help people who are in real need,” said Perla Zuniga Arellano, one of the students who participated in the ASB.  “Food insecurity has no face, it doesn’t have a race, religion, gender or profession. Everyone at some point is vulnerable to food insecurity.”

In Westchester County alone, the Food Bank for Westchester estimates that 200,000 people are at risk of hunger.

Though the ASB had a limited amount of positions available and time to make an impact, one of the main goals of the trip was to raise awareness so that students could potentially continue to make a difference on the local level.

“We all hold so much power in our words and intentions and should never underestimate the effects of a helping hand,” said Joseph.

Twelve WCC students spent Spring Break serving food in soup kitchens, helping to distribute quality foods in the local community, and feeding hundreds of hungry New Yorkers. /Amanda M. Godon

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