My Alternative Spring Break

imagesWell the reading break has passed, and it is time to get back in the school routine. I hope that you all had a good break regardless of what you did or where you went. I, myself, spent it doing something quite different – something I had never done at all. I took part in McGill’s Alternative Spring Break.

Unless you have already heard about it (or read my previous blog), you might be wondering – what is alternative spring break? Well, for Monday-Thursday of the spring break I spent it volunteering each morning (8:30-12) at a local shelter/food bank for the homeless called “Welcome Hall Mission”. There were many other volunteers (at this location we were 14) among many different volunteering places (ranging from shelters all the way to working with people with disabilities). When we applied to take part in this week, we got to choose from a list of places our top 3 preferences, and then we waited to see if we were accepted and if yes, to which place.

My first day began with sorting meat, not raw meat but packaged meat. We were responsible for sorting the beef (ground versus marinated), pork, sausage, and whatever other meat we came across. The second day, which was also my favorite day, we got to actually distribute the food to the homeless people. They set up the room in a circle so that there were stations outlining the whole perimeter. Food distribution stations ranged from milk, vegetables, meat, desserts, bread, and basically anything else you could think of. The most rewarding part of this was (and the week) was their smiles when they received the food.

On the third day we spent it sorting clothes – depending on their type (t-shirt, camisole, long-sleeve/shot-sleeve, etc.) and their size. It was amazing to see all the clothes that were donated, some even being designer brands. After that we squeezed little shampoo bottles (you know those kinds at hotels that you throw away – they get donated!) into a big tub which is then used for shower time. On the last day, we were divided into two groups; one who went back to sort more meat and the other (including myself) who went to go cut vegetables. We spent the day sorting through carrots, only keeping the ones which were still good, and cutting their tops and bottoms off, and then re-packaging them.

The last day, Friday, was a reflection day held back here at McGill. All the volunteers came together to talk about their experiences throughout the past four days. It was interesting to learn about what the others did at their places, and the experiences they themselves made. The best was hearing about all the good things that happened, and how we realized that it’s the little things we do which make the biggest difference in other people’s lives.

If while reading this, you were like “hey, that sounds like fun” or “that could be something I’m interested it”, I definitely recommend you check it out. Alternative Spring Break is put on through the SEDE office at McGill, and if you look on their website they have a whole section dedicated to explaining this week in detail. I hope that you check it out, and will plan to get involved in it for next year. The more people, the bigger difference it will make.

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