Central Michigan University has an endless amount of amazing opportunities and recently I was fortunate enough to be a part of one. The Mary Ellen Brandell volunteer center offers an organization called the Service Ambassadors. This group is made up of spontaneous volunteers for some pretty awesome projects. There are no meetings or standards to be able to volunteer for this organization, it is simply a group of people who are looking to help out our community. On Friday, November 11th 2016, I was able to volunteer with them to travel to Flint, Michigan, and help out with whatever needed at St. Michael Roman Catholic Church for the Catholic Charities Center for Hope.
For those of you who don’t know, Flint, Michigan has recently gone through a very serious water crisis in which their main source of fresh water had somehow become toxic and the water that the citizens of Flint were at a loss of fresh water to clean themselves, drink, and use in their everyday lives. After this phenomenon, protestors invaded the city when governor Rick Snyder was highly accused of the crisis. Ever since the city was struck with this issue, it has been an unsafe and destructed areas consisting of recovery and grief.
That morning, I was thrown into a group of practically strangers of student at CMU and was able to collaborate with each of them to provide service to the people of Flint.When we arrived at the church, we were immediately put to work by members of the community in the basement. The basement included a kitchen and a cafeteria looking area outside of the kitchen. This was where homeless families gathered to each afternoon for a meal in which some of us were asked to serve for. Beyond the dining area were tables folded in a wall-like structure to cover a mess of used and donated clothes that were in need of hanging and sorting. On the stage next to the dining area there were piles of brown boxes filled with even more clothing donations. This is where I helped out for the day. The few men in the group we traveled with that day assisted a very nice man of the church unload trucks filled with the boxes of clothes, while us girls sorted through the clothes. It was honestly so amazing to see how many donations were given to such a small church in such a destroyed area. I was even more amazed to see how many categories of clothing that there were. From women’s, men’s, boys, girls, and infants, there were shirts, skirts, pants, sweaters, hats, shoes, purses, socks, scarves, belts, and so on. Since Winter is right around the corner we were told that if we were to find Summer clothing, to put them in a large black garbage bag to donate to Good Will. It was also amazing how much clothes were being donated to Good Will.
As much as we helped, there was so much left to do after hours upon hours of being there. I have always loved helping out in my own community and it was so inspiring and motivating to help out in communities I have never even visited before. I am astonished at how good our world is after volunteering that day in seeing how many people went out of their way to donate all of those clothes to people who truly need them, and to see that those volunteers feed families in need each and every day. Something that really stood out to me that day were how many small children were going through all of this when I saw them eating, and while picking up their little outfits off of a basement floor. Above all things, something that truly left a mark on me was while unloading a new batch of boxes, a man of the church came up to me and said, “God bless all of you! We appreciate you all being here so much. Ya know, we don’t get this kind of help around here every day and I wanted to thank you all for being such great people!” That man and his kind words made me take a deep breath and realize the impact that I have made on this man’s life. I live for moments like these. I hope to have many more of these moments and these days throughout my years here at CMU because days and moments like this is what makes the world keep spinning and my heart keep smiling.