Serving others is an integral part of education. There are many ways that you can committ yourself to service at Saint Joseph's.
Each week, students volunteer at area food pantries. Over semester break in January, students help to feed people at a homeless shelter in Portland or build a house in Guatemala; in March they volunteer in five states during an alternative spring break called Workfest. However you want to get involved, there's a way.
To promote consciousness about the need for shelter, students camp out in cardboard boxes overnight in front of Alfond Hall to promote the student Habitat for Humanity chapter. Campus Ministry members bring hot chocolate and their support to the encampment. During Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week, students serve breakfast and lunch at local food pantries.
Reaching out beyond our campus boundaries speaks to the mission of Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy who opened her heart with compassion and mercy to those with physical, psychological and spiritual need. The Mercy tradition is alive and well here as we seek to provide acts of charity and kindness, advocacy for justice and stewardship – both on and off campus.
Saint Joseph's is part of the annual Midnight Run, a consortium of churches, colleges and civic groups that distribute food, clothes and other necessities to homeless people in New York City. The dining staff here make sandwiches, the Sisters of Mercy donate clothes from their second-hand shop in Portland, Campus Ministry pours shampoo into little bottles.
“The most rewarding experience was just being able to work and play with all the kids of the village. When working on the construction team on the hottest day of the week, it was seeing the kids’ big, smiling faces that made it all worth it. Knowing that we were there making a difference for them made every moment worthwhile.”
“I participated in the service trip to New York City, called Midnight Run. The day before the trip we sorted through all the donated clothes and made bag lunches. The next day we drove to New York City and distributed the clothes and food to people in need.”
“Some of my favorite and most rewarding times here at Saint Joseph's College has been during Habitat for Humanity NY and Kentucky service opportunities.”