Students Work with Nonprofits Focusing on Food Insecurity, Domestic Violence during Wintersession Alternative Breaks

February 13, 2020

Forty-one Wellesley students spent their winter breaks working for the greater good, partnering with community-based nonprofits during Wintersession Alternative Breaks to tackle issues of food insecurity and domestic violence.

The Alternative Break participants worked alongside nonprofit staff for a week, experiencing firsthand the positive impact that direct service organizations have on their communities. Supported by Civic Engagement within Wellesley Career Education, Alternative Break trips put into action the College motto: Non Ministrari sed Ministrare (“Not to be ministered unto, but to minister”). Alexandra Stanford ’20, Ministrare Fellow for Alternative Breaks, supervised the overarching planning for the trips, and two student coordinators oversaw each group at sites in New York City, Boston, and Bangor, Maine.

A group of students stand around a table, smiling

In Bangor, Maine, students volunteered with the domestic abuse shelter Partners for Peace to organize donations, paint tables and chairs, and clean the temporary housing used by survivors and their families; the trip coordinators were Claire Cheek ’21 and Caroline Baldacci ’22. “The most rewarding parts of the trip were making new friends from Wellesley who share a commitment to service,” said Baldacci, who grew up in Bangor, “as well as the smiles on the survivors’ faces when we finished cleaning the shelter and making it a nicer place to live.”

a group of students stand smiling together

During the Boston trip, organized by Sophia Khoury ’20 and Hope D’Erasmo ’21, students worked with Community Servings, a nonprofit that prepares nutritious meals for chronically ill and food-insecure clients. Students packaged, prepared, and delivered meals to clients. “We felt like we were part of the team despite being there for only four days. The staff treated us as if we knew them for a long time, and it was great getting to know them and the efforts that they put into preparing these meals,” said Michelle Jung ’23. “AB Boston was absolutely the greatest college moment that I have had so far. It was fascinating to see how quickly I got close to everyone in the group as well as getting to know everybody by more than their name.”

students stand in a group photo smiling at the camera

The Alternative Break students in New York, with trip coordinators Alanna Uthgenannt ’21 and Alice Choe ’20, worked with God’s Love We Deliver, which provides nutritious, individually tailored meals to men, women, and children living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other serious illnesses. Throughout the week, the group worked in food prep shifts and delivered meals to clients across New York’s boroughs.

God’s Love We Deliver was founded in 1985 as an urgent response to the AIDs epidemic, and their mission has since expanded to include all those who are too ill to cook for themselves. Throughout the trip, students engaged in reflection around the LGBTQIA+ human rights issues that were central to the organization’s founding.