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College students donate spring break in Baltimore

Baltimore designated as hub city for college students this spring

3/21/2014, 6 a.m.
This month 30 college students from across the nation are donating their spring break to help families facing poverty in ...
Justin Walko, University of Toledo; Becca Marcott, Ferris State University; and Amy Paruk, Michigan State University are among college students from across the nation who are donating their spring break to help families facing poverty in Baltimore as part of United Way’s Alternative Spring Break program. (Tyrone P. Eaton)

This month 30 college students from across the nation are donating their spring break to help families facing poverty in Baltimore as part of United Way’s Alternative Spring Break program. Baltimore has been designated as one, of only a handful of hub cities by United Way Worldwide for spring break volunteer activities.

On Friday, March 7, 2014, several of those students went to Baltimore's Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Elementary School to organize their food pantry and pack bags of food for needy students to take home over the weekend. A Title I school, many students’ families earn incomes of less than $14,999 annually. Each Friday, 75 students receive food to help feed their families throughout the weekend.

'For many, spring break means a trip to the beach and parties--but it's inspiring to see that there are students who choose to dedicate their time off from school for volunteering. The next generation is eager to give back, and Alternative Spring Break is a fun way to do just that," said United Way of Central Maryland's chief development officer Elise Lee.

Katherine Davis, a student at the University of Michigan who spent the morning packing bags of food agrees volunteering is a great way to spend spring break. She stated, "I wanted to participate in something really positive over her spring break instead of just hanging out with friends.”

Becca Marcott a student at Ferris State University also helped out during Hurricane Katrina recovery. "I volunteer because giving back has led to some of the best experiences of my life," she said.

In it's third year locally, “Alternative Spring Break” is open to college students interested in dedicating their spring break to making a difference in underserved communities across the U.S. In Central Maryland, volunteers are spending their time at community kitchens, homeless shelters, food programs and other local nonprofits to support United Way's work around housing, financial stability and access to healthy food.

Three Alternative Spring Break weeks will take place in Baltimore during the month of March. Service sites include, Maryland Food Bank, Green Street Academy, Habitat for Humanity and several other institutions.

Students from across the country participate in Alternative Spring Break. Local schools involved include Johns Hopkins University; Towson University; Notre Dame of Maryland University; University of Maryland; and Anne Arundel Community College.

To learn more about Alternative Spring Break visit www.uwcm.org.