By Cheyenne Majeed, Howard University News Service
Video by Khary Armster, NewsVision reporter
Washington D.C– For Howard University students, one of the most anticipated experiences during Homecoming is giving back to the community. On October 5, Howard held its annual Homecoming Day of Service where students volunteered to serve throughout the Washington, D.C. area through several service initiative opportunities.
Several students came together to serve the homeless, aid in community beautification, health, education, elder care, and violence prevention.
At one particular site, a group of Howard students served at Food & Friends located in northeast D.C., an organization that prepares and delivers nutritionally-tailored meals to clientele who have serious illnesses and cannot afford to provide nourishment for themselves.
Katrina Mathis, the volunteer services director at Food & Friends, was more than appreciative to see students from Howard providing a helping hand.
“Today, 30 years later, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without volunteers. Volunteers are the lifeblood of this organization. We need them. We send out about 3,000 meals a day; we could not do that with the small staff that we have. So, volunteers are everything, we rely on them to help us do what we do, to make an impact in people’s lives. We believe that food is medicine and that anyone can get sick and everybody can help. So, to me today, having Howard University students here, you all are a part of that everyone can help,” she said.
A few of the other sites students volunteered at were Hustlers to Harvesters, Lisner-Louise Dickson Hurt Home and Feed the Hood Project HBCU Edition.
At Food& Friends, students diligently packaged prepared groceries in big brown paper bags before they were stored in proper luggage for clients upon delivery. Students also organized the clients’ orders based on their needs and proper delivery location.
Student leader, Jylnn Terroade said volunteering as a team is very beneficial.
“I really see me being the team leader as just being the link between the site and the group. Since our group is so small, it’s a really intimate experience and it’s been a collaborative experience too. And these are my peers, like I know every single person on my team personally. I don’t really think of it as, I’m this overarching force. It’s like we’re all in this together. I’m kind of just like a helping force, but I think we’re all pretty leveled with responsibility and contribution,” the sophomore psychology major and painting minor said.
Another student described the Day of Service as an act of selflessness.
“Helping other people, I think it’s a good way to kind of get out of your own egotistical self-centered world because I mean all of us are a little bit self-centered. I think it’s a good way to get out of that mindset,” Hannah Bessette, a sophomore political science major said.
For many like Reggie Ogbonna, a senior organizational communication major and graphic design minor said initiatives like this emphasized howt continuing to serve outside of Howard is important after graduation. “I realize after I graduate, the service opportunities, I have to create on my own. So, Howard kind of makes it easy. It’s important to take advantage of that especially this being my last year.”