Four of the ten students who participated in the 2014 Urban Plunge over winter break volunteered to share their stories. Their experience, in their own words, is below.
O’Shane Morgan ‘16
When the opportunity came to apply for the urban plunge NYC I was very hesitant at first because I knew it would cut into my winter break. However, what motivated me to apply, was the mission of God’s Love We Deliver. They are a non-profit organization that strongly believes in continuing Jesus Christ’s mission in aiding the sick, feeding the poor, regardless of who they are or where they come from.
Afer arriving in NYC, I was ready to hit the ground running the next day. Day one wasn’t easy, it was 10 below zero outside and our day started early. When we arrived at God’s Love We Deliver I saw people hard at work, cooking and packaging hundreds of meals to be sent out. After orientation, they throw us in the action, with aprons, gloves, and hair nets. Throughout all the hustle and bustle in the kitchen workers and volunteers all found time to have fun, talking, laughing and listening to music while being professional and getting the job done. Everyday after a long day of hard work, we took time to reflect on the what we did that specifically day, what impacted it had on us and what we’ve gained. Reflection was also the perfect time to journal and think about this small things in life that have had great impacts on us.
God’s Love We Deliver allowed us to see the different stages in which they go about fulfilling their mission. Each day was different, every task contributed to their mission so way or another. God’s Love We Deliver is like no other organization in that the volunteers we about to get a hands one approach in making a difference, beginning to end. We were able to prepare the meals, package them, then deliver the meals to the people directly in need. You got a unique experience to see directly how your work was help those in need. God’s Love We Deliver gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “serving others.”
Lauren Moore ‘14
Something that many college students and other young adults struggle with is the desire to make a difference in the world and the uncertainty of where to begin. Here at Stonehill, we are fortunate enough to be surrounded by a community of peers, faculty, and programs that value service and the importance of bringing about a more just and compassionate world. One such program is a week-long service immersion trip called Urban Plunge.
From January 6th-10th, I, along with nine other students and one faculty supervisor, was given the opportunity to spend a portion of Winter Break in New York City, volunteering with God’s Love We Deliver, an organization that provides nutritious, individually-tailored food to people who are too ill to shop for food or to cook for themselves. Our first two days of service consisted of preparing meals for the clients in an assembly-line format or putting our chopping-technique to the test by dicing onions, poultry, and peppers. Although this work may sound a bit tedious for a 7-hour day, the time seemed to fly by. The staff at God’s Love was so helpful, appreciative, and welcoming that we immediately felt like a part of the family. On our final day of service, the ten of us had the opportunity to deliver the food to some of God’s Love’s recipients. While the fact that each of us would be in separate vans made me a little apprehensive at first, that feeling quickly vanished as I began to talk with the driver of the van I was in and commence the delivery process. It was so rewarding to be able to see the product of our work in the kitchen be brought to fruition, as well as to feel the gratitude and relief these clients had for God’s Love’s services. We were truly able to witness the organization’s belief of “food as medicine” in action.
Each day of service concluded with a communally-prepared dinner with our Stonehill peers and time for relaxation and reflection on the days’ events. Our reflections consisted of journaling, reading articles and applying that information to our experiences, listening to inspiring and motivating guest speakers, and concluding with a prayer. Overall, this experience proved to be an incredible opportunity to engage in community service, learn about a new culture and city, and continue to learn and grow from the Stonehill community.
Deirdre Horan ‘14
Love is a powerful emotion. With its existence comes one person’s care and desire for the safety, happiness, and health of another. This kind of emotion is usually reserved for those we see regularly and who are consistently present in our lives. But at God’s Love We Deliver, where Sarah Fontaine-Lipke from Campus Ministry, ten Stonehill students and myself served over winter break, many of the employees or volunteers who have worked for years at GLWD have never once met the people they put hairnets and wash their hands (up to their elbows) countless time for. The people at GLWD spend endless hours dicing celery, unintentionally crying over sliced onions, scooping pureed meat into soon-to-be tightly sealed containers, or our group’s personal favorite, wrapping thousands of rolls (no exaggeration) in saran wrap. But these amazing people have faith that the hard work they put in day after day, year after year will end in the hands and mouths of those who need it most.
As a group we stayed at Stonehill’s house in the Bronx and traveled to Brooklyn every day to GLWD’s new location. We worked in the kitchen for two days and went out on deliveries for the third. We were lucky enough to see the people whose meals we wrapped, chopped, and lidded while in the kitchen. We, unlike so many of the other volunteers and employees, got to witness firsthand the gratefulness of the sick people being fed at the hands of GLWD. About half way through riding a scarily old elevator from the 12th floor of a project building in Hispanic Harlem, after being told, “Thank you baby, God bless you.” for the umpteenth time, I realized why GLWD has the name it does. The people at the organization don’t just distribute meals to thousands of terminally ill people around New York. With every meal delivery these sick people don’t just receive big brown paper bags bulging with enough meals for a week. They receive the message that there are others out there who genuinely care about their safety, happiness, and health. They receive love.
Emily Gordan ‘17
Being the only freshman going on the Urban Plunge NYC trip, I was apprehensive as to how I would fit in amongst the upperclassmen. I was also worried about being in the city as I am from a small rural town. However, through this unique experience, I gained ten new friends, met amazing people, and worked with an extraordinary organization.
Volunteering for God’s Love We Deliver was a wonderful experience. Through this organization, we prepared thousands of meals for people with life threatening illnesses. During our trip, we delivered the meals door to door to the clients throughout New York City and New Jersey. It was heart-warming to see how much of an influence we made by preparing and delivering these meals. The delivery aspect was one of my favorite aspects of the trip. I also enjoyed eating dinner and meeting with Stonehill alumni. They shared their favorite Stonehill memories and told us about their lives. It was wonderful to hear from people who had once been in our shoes and how they followed their passions after Stonehill.
Through the service and reflections, I learned how fortunate I am to have an education, my health, my family, and a plentiful supply of food. This experience strengthened my desire to serve people and help people acquire the necessities that they need in any way that I can. I made friends with other students that I would have never met otherwise. I hope to work with God’s Love We Deliver and go on the Urban Plunge next year!