Doing service not only benefits the community, but it can also have a positive impact on you as an individual.

Santa Maria Service Pic

Recently, I participated in the Mission Ambassadors service day held on the day of our mid-semester holiday. Since there weren’t any classes that day, it was an ideal opportunity to volunteer and serve. We were assigned to either BLOC Ministries or Santa Maria Community Services. Santa Maria helps to support the educational, financial, and health goals of people who live in Price Hill and aims to break the generational cycle of poverty.

The morning of the service day our group met in the Santa Maria parking lot. We were warmly greeted by Lynne Rinear, a volunteer coordinator at the non-profit organization. As she led us inside the building, I noticed that there were crates filled with food and tables with desserts. At Santa Maria, they fill bags with food and distribute them to people within the Price Hill area. Rinear led us down to the basement where we were given our assignment.

The organization collects donations of toys, sanitary products, and clothes, which they m in their basement. The toys are given to kids so that they can have items that are fun and educational to play with, along with the essentials of hygiene items and clean clothes for kids and adults in need. Our first task at Santa Maria was to break down cardboard boxes in the area and to unpack boxes with various donations. After unpacking the boxes, we stacked the donations. It was fun because we listened to music while we worked.

Participating in the service day helped us as Mission Ambassadors to develop our sense of teamwork. Rinear gave several of us another task, to help move boxes of winter hats, gloves, and scarves from upstairs down to the basement for storage. Each of us could have individually carried boxes down the stairs and come back up to get more. But, instead, we worked out a system where we’d have an assembly line so that we could pass the boxes from one person to another. In this way, we collaborated and worked toward achieving a common goal efficiently. In addition to moving the boxes, we helped to clean out a cabinet and organize the donations into their specific areas.

At the end of the service day, we were all given Santa Maria t-shirts and chocolate bars for volunteering that afternoon. After taking a few photos, our Mission ambassadors coordinator, Maria DiTullio, asked us a few reflection questions. Overall, the service day was meaningful because it gave us the opportunity to engage with the community on a deeper level. By performing service together, we worked towards bettering the common good. In addition, we went outside of our comfort zones by doing something meaningful with the day off.

One thing that Rinear said that stuck with me was that the service we performed that day wasn’t glamorous, but it provided much needed help to lighten her load. I think that the goal of performing community service is to consider someone else’s well-being ahead of your own and do your best to assist them with kindness in mind. Community service is never something that you should do to get attention or popularity; it is meant to be out of the goodness of your heart without personal gain. Volunteering at Santa Maria reminds me that no work is wasted, and that small actions are impactful whether you realize it or not. I hope to volunteer at Santa Maria again soon.

Photo: Back Row: Dre Wright, Emma Balon, Asia Branch, Caleb Bush, and Hannah Parece

Front Row: Hailey Lipp, Anna Carroll, Kayla Hess, and Annabel Vicars