The Student Involvement and Employment Office’s weekend-long trip to intercity Milwaukee brought 13 diverse students together with the goal of helping people affected by hunger and homelessness from April 10 to 12.
Early Friday morning, the group headed to their first volunteer location. Once there, they spent time at Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, helping to restock the store with donated furniture. Tasks involved reorganization and cleaning.
“The struggles of food insecurities and poverty are right here down the interstate,” said Elizabeth O’Leary, co-service trip leader. “It is so important to bring awareness to these issues because we are advocating for a group of people who don’t have the opportunity to advocate for themselves.”
O’Leary and Alanna LeClair, co-service trip leader, evaluated the average amount an individual would spend on food while receiving food stamps in America. Their calculations estimated they would only have $16.50 to spend on feeding the entire group, so they headed to Save-A-Lot to purchase dinner for that amount.
The group had to watch every penny spent as they compared products in efforts to get the best deal possible. They ate salad, spaghetti with sauce and garlic bread: a meal that stuck to their budget.
“The thing I really enjoy about the Intercity Impact trip is being able to do behind the scenes work that builds capacity for the organizations that we partner with,” LeClair said. “It is encouraging to be able to see how much work has been completed in a day, and know that, in a small way, we are impacting lives of people that we don’t know and may never meet.”
The next day, the group volunteered at Milwaukee Rescue Mission and got a tour of the facility. They learned the facility helps get individuals back on their feet and provides a unique school experience for children in the area.
The last location the group stopped was South Milwaukee Human Concerns. There, students helped organize and clean a facility full of clothes, shoes, books and utensils. All items were for individuals in need. At the end of the day, the group traveled to Juneau Park to relax, then later to a spy-themed restaurant called Safehouse.
To finish the trip, students watched the documentary “A Place at the Table,” which shows various American families fighting to find nutritious food and battle with the insufficient food stamp amounts provided to them.
“It was humbling to see firsthand some of the issues those who are less fortunate face,” said volunteer Ross Kessenich. “It was also great to give back by adding to the programs that are in place in the Milwaukee area to aid those in need.”