By WAYNE ALLEN
PDT Staff Writer
When it comes to spring break, college students often are faced with several options. For 16 Shawnee State University students, the choice was easy: spend a week working with the Second Harvest Food Bank in Orlando, Fla.
“We spent most of our time sorting, organizing and helping with the distribution of food,” said Nikki Karabinis, coordinator for the SSU Center for Community Service. “The Second Harvest Food Bank is a massive warehouse, and when they get donations they need to be organized. That’s where volunteers like us come and help.”
For SSU student Dot Flanagan trips like these served as an eye opener to area needs.
“I would love to be able to bring more assistance to the local food pantries here in Scioto County, and this trip has really helped me see just how much work goes into making sure food sustainability is there for those that really need it. Scioto County has gone through a lot these last few years. This alternative trip to Florida would make it my fifth alternative break trip and they have each opened my eyes to the needs around me, despite traveling however many miles,” Flanagan said.
Recently, Karabinis also led student trips to Joplin, Mo., and New Orleans to help with natural disaster cleanup.
The student-volunteers gained three credits from those experiences and will get three more for this effort.
Karabinis said each student will get a research topic and will be instructed to compare and contrast a food bank in Scioto County with the Second Harvest Food Bank.
“We really hope students pull away from trips inspired and touched by these experiences. We hope they will gain a skill so they can continue their service,” Karabinis said. “If they can’t get down to these places again we hope they would want to do similar work in Portsmouth. There is a lot of work that needs to be done in Portsmouth as well, but people tend to overlook it.”
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 208, or firstname.lastname@example.org.