meghan elmore and students catherines cupboard

Meghan Elmore ’19 embraces her volunteer role at Catherine’s Cupboard.

By Marisellia Greenlaw ’18

Photo caption: Meghan Elmore ’19 trains two new volunteers at Catherine’s Cupboard food pantry.

On a Wednesday afternoon this fall, I rode with Meghan Elmore ’19 in one of the College’s vans to Catherine’s Cupboard, a food pantry founded in 2008 by Saint Joseph’s Mercy Center, the Town of Standish, and Bon Appétit Management Company. A social work major and one of 12 active volunteers at the food pantry, Meghan received the 2016 Community Service Endowed Scholarship in recognition for her community involvement. On the way to Catherine’s Cupboard, we talked about the work she does there, which to Meghan feels less like “work” and more like being part of a family.  When we arrived, Meghan explained to two new volunteers the unique “grocery shopping” aspect of Catherine’s Cupboard. The role of a trainer came naturally to her. When the doors opened and patrons arrived, Meghan took complete initiative as a leader without her smile ever leaving her face. Meghan explained why she gives back:

“What made me get involved in volunteering was being so grateful that I was able to attend such a beautiful school and everything that came with it. I realized that for right now, at this moment, I have enough, I am enough, and that it was time to help others. I realized that no matter how bad a day I may be having if I can help put a smile on someone else’s face, it can brighten my mood. It gives me a purpose, a reason for my existence. If I was not there in that moment, then maybe they wouldn’t have smiled, and that makes me feel important.

“Volunteering has really opened up my eyes to everyday problems. There are a lot more families than I originally realized that work very hard for their money, but still end up short at the end of the month. When I was younger, I felt as if my opinion was based on stereotypes... I’m very glad volunteering has helped me realize and understand that unexpected things happen in life, and it could easily happen to anyone. The more people realize this and lend a helping hand, the easier the process of getting back on your feet can be.

“I see community service as something I will continue to do after Saint Joseph’s. There really is no better feeling than knowing you helped make a difference, even something as little as helping one person a day. Being a social work major, I know I will run into several opportunities in my career to help be a part of something bigger.

“Saint Joe’s has really opened my eyes to new activities and opportunities. I am vice president of the Social Work Club, I am a community service leader, and I am a part of Active Minds, a club that is dedicated to spreading mental health awareness. After graduation, I plan on going to grad school and getting my master’s. My goal is to work in an inpatient unit with adolescents, focusing on mental health.”