Over spring break, Newman students took to the road for a service trip with Campus Ministry.
The service trip to St. Louis, called Caritas Christi, took place Wednesday, March 16, through Sunday, March 20. The students who participated served with the St. Patrick Center and the Missionaries of Charity.
A service-filled spring break
The first daylong service session involved working with the St. Patrick Center, a house that supports women in crisis pregnancies and adoption services.
“When we went to St. Patrick Center on Thursday, we helped clean some of their rooms, packed clothes and different toys they had to donate to Goodwill and helped throw the rest in the dumpster,” said senior Ariel Johnson, an interdisciplinary studies major.
Though the service work was a bit trying at times, the Newman students were up for the challenge.
“We carried chairs, desks, cabinets and toys out of the building to help make space for more storage and office space,” said senior Iveth De Loera, a radiologic technology major. “We did all this while climbing two flights of stairs and even managed to fill a giant trash can in about five hours. It was quite impressive.”
Johnson added, “I loved that we got to do a project as a group, and I enjoyed being able to help carry things down the stairs to the dumpster or to the truck.”
A fresh perspective
The students also completed a service project with the Missionaries of Charity, a religious community in the Catholic Church founded by Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
“We sent a team of eight on each of the days to the Missionaries of Charity’s soup kitchen,” said junior Hadassah Umbarger, an English major with an art minor. “There we helped prep for the next day’s meal which involved lots of chopping and peeling. We also served lunch to some of the St. Louis residents who needed it and cleaned the dining room when they were done.”
De Loera said she enjoyed helping at the soup kitchen because it introduced her to a new mindset.
“This was the first time I had ever met a sister of (Missionaries of) Charity and it made me realize that they are not just confined to Calcutta,” De Loera said. “Being able to work with them made me realize that to be Christ-like I don’t need to go to a foreign country, Wichita is my Calcutta and I acknowledge that now more than ever.”
The trip wasn’t just all service work, however, as the students visited several other Missouri destinations.
Students visited the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, the St. Francis De Sales Oratory and the Shrine of St. Joseph. They also made appearances at the Arch, the St. Louis Zoo and even the World Chess Hall of Fame — a stop the students particularly enjoyed.
“It was a beautiful church that I could have spent hours exploring,” Nguyen said. “Another cool place we went to was the St. Louis Zoo.”
A trip to remember
Even though Umbarger enjoyed the service work and visiting the different places, she said that her favorite memories were “just hanging out at the Airbnb.”
“In the dining room we had a giant table that fit all of us perfectly, and sitting down for dinner and looking around at all of the amazing people made my heart full,” Umbarger said. “Which is ridiculously cheesy, but it’s true.”
The students may have sacrificed their spring break, but the service work they participated in gave them memories to last a lifetime.
“The service trip was fun and it really taught me that service is an outpouring of love,” Nguyen said.
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