Kerry Phelam, ’16, Staff Writer
This year, 40 Merrimack students and eight advisors were given the opportunity to provide service over Spring break, in the college’s annual Alternative Spring Break program.
The students split into four different locations in Bronx, N.Y., Camden, N.J., Durbin W.Va., and New Orleans. Services included building houses, distributing meals at local shelters, providing childcare, and serving the elderly.
According to Brian SuehsVassel, assistant director of campus ministry, the department that facilitates the service trip, the goal of Alternative Spring Break is “to provide students with the opportunity to serve others and grow spiritually while experiencing the joy of the community.” From the feedback of the students, the trip did not fall short of these goals.
“The NOLA [New Orleans] group worked really well together and managed to laugh a lot while we were working,” said ASB New Orleans leader Chris Provost, ‘13. Along with his group of 10 students, the group was able to work with Habitat from Humanity in building a home with a family affected by Hurricane Katrina.
In New York, ASB co-leaders Courtney Gray and Claire Wisley described their time as an “amazing experience.” Stationed in the Bronx, their group of 10 was able to serve at multiple locations including an immigration center, a shelter for women and children, a soup kitchen, daycare center, and even a popular food bank.
“We had a great time interacting with the staff and serving over 400 hot meals to the people of the Bronx” said Gray. With another successful spring break trip completed, SuehsVassel would like to remind all students that all Campus Ministry trips are open to everyone.
Despite the work, Provost and other students explain that these trips are not only fun, but also meaningful for all involved. “Hearing how appreciative they were of our service made everything worthwhile,” said Provost.