By ELENA LA DOLCETTA
On Saturday, Sept. 30, students from the UMW community went “Into the Streets” of Fredericksburg to help various organizations and serve the community.
Check in started at 8:30 a.m. and finished around noon. Many went around to different organizations such as: Saint Mary’s of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, The SPCA, Empowerhouse, Micah, and Parks and Rec. They helped mulch, create gowns, and did whatever the nonprofits asked of them. This year there were approximately 140 students volunteers, which is around 30 more people than last year.
The Community Outreach and Resource organization, COAR, started planning for “Into the Streets” back in August. They had to contact different nonprofits, contact food organizations for donations, organize transportation, and reach out to UMW clubs to help advertise and promote the event. COAR used flyers and different social media platforms to advertise this event.
COAR is a nonprofit organization on campus that has been in existence since 1990. Their overall mission states, “COAR is a diverse group of students serving community needs through an active exchange of service and learning while continually striving to find solutions to problems that challenge the community.” They provide many service opportunities for UMW students.
The “Into the Streets” event has a mission that junior staff member of COAR, Elizabeth Wainer, is passionate about.
The mission is “to grow community between Fredericksburg nonprofits and UMW students and to create an opportunity for students to better the community,” said Wainer.
Wainer has been with the COAR organization since her freshman year at the UMW. This year, for her the “Into The Streets” experience she went to St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church, located on Williams Street.
“It was an enjoyable time, growing and strengthening bonds with new friends and old ones while serving the community of St. Mary’s who greatly appreciated our work,” said Wainer. “All 12 of us were split up into three different tasks. Four of us were tasked with weeding the various gardens on the property. Another four were tasked with helping pick with debris and cleaning the sheds. And the last four, which was the group I was in, we placed mulch around the property in different locations.”
The type of volunteer work that students did differed based off of where they went.
“I was part of the crew who sewed hospital gowns for chronically ill babies and babies in the hospital,” said James. “I didn’t see the fruits of my labor, but I knew these seemingly menial actions like putting on buttons mattered. I know a child will wear them, and if these hospital gowns give these parents a moment of solace, it’s worth it.”
While some did work for organizations that focused on human needs, others went to locations like the SPCA where they were able to volunteer there.
I went to the SPCA to volunteer and we were able to interact with some of the animals there as well as helped the people who worked there do some cleaning,” said senior Emma Greenberg. “Some of us cleaned kennels and some of us organized different parts of the shelter. It was great to see the animals.”