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Sep 26, 2016
Painted Turtle Farm 9/25/2016

Yesterday Brooke and I went to volunteer at the Painted Turtle Farm. This organization is a farm on campus that provides food to local families that do not have enough money to buy their own fresh vegetables. These families sign up for small plots and they have to take care of them and harvest the food that grows. When Brooke and I arrived we met with two sophomores one that works there, Jessie, and one volunteer, Kieran. They put us to work right away; we weeded a large area that surrounded the family owned plots. We used tools to remove the unwanted grass and weeds that were invading the crops that the families needed. The four of us then loaded up three wheelbarrows with mulch and laid the mulch down over the area that we weeded. Jessie told us that in order to prevent more weeds from growing and ruining the plants we had to put the mulch down in thick layers. After an hour and a half of working on the area around the plots we got water and Jessie told us more about the farm. A lot of professors buy small strips of land and plant vegetables there and that is how the entire farm is funded. Brooke and I will go back every Sunday and there are also opportunities to water the gardens at 6:00 pm every day.

Posted at 05:13 pm by fletsh01
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Sep 25, 2016
Office of Aging Dinner 1

I went to the Office of Aging on Friday night to eat dinner with the residents of the nursing home. While there, I had the opportunity of meeting a lot of kind elderly people, especially the 5 ladies I was sitting at a table with during the meal. Each of the ladies had their own unique stories to tell. One of them never married and had no children, another was married, had four children, has 16 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. I loved hearing all of their stories! The meal was provided to us by Campus Kitchen, and consisted of fried fish, macaroni and cheese, and zucchini. My job was super easy: all I had to do was socialize with residents! I told them all about my family, where I am from, and just any other information about myself. I think they appreciated it the most when I showed them pictures of my adorable kitten, Nora. One of the ladies asked me if I would come back again soon. I told her I absolutely would! It was a great experience and seeing elderly people smile always has a way of making my day brighter.

Posted at 12:12 am by Gemma OKeefe
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Sep 21, 2016
Soup Kitchen Day 2

Yesterday was my second day of volunteering in the soup kitchen. It was different than the first day, busier, and I had more work to do than I did my first time. Lots more, actually. But I'm not complaining. This time I was more visible to the patrons I was serving, as I was directly distributing them food at the tables and was passing around the basket of items, from which people may pull at maximum two items per person. The Tuesday crowd that volunteered last week was largely absent yesterday, as it was not their usual day to be there, but I met four new volunteers: Shirley, Patty, Dottie, and another older gentleman whose I embarrassingly cannot recall, but I know that he, like Chuck (who I met last week), was a math professor. Unlike Chuck, however, this man is retired. Though I enjoyed the time I served, and Jan and John appreciated that I stayed until the "bitter end", I was somewhat taken aback by the curtness and impatient demeanor of some of the partakers in the meal (which was a savory-looking ravioli, for the record. But I can get over it. It can't be an easy life for these folks, and I'm not one to pass judgment, of course. Especially considering my own socioeconomic situation. Definitely not. All in all, it was another fulfilling day at the Protestant soup kitchen on West High Street.

Posted at 04:10 pm by Alex Romano
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Sep 14, 2016
Soup Kitchen Day 1

Yesterday was my first day volunteering for the soup kitchen on West High Street. The setup is run in a building affiliated with the Episcopal church. I walked into town and saw someone from my hall on the way to the kitchen, and I made sure I kept track of the route I was taking to where I had to go. Once I was in the vicinity of the church, I wasn't sure where the soup kitchen was relative to my position, so I asked two women who appeared to be waiting for it to open. Once I knocked on the back door to the kitchen, I was greeted by an older woman, who let me in. Jan introduced herself to me, and I met Pete, John, Chuck, Shirley, and Ruthie. I worked with another lady in the back of the kitchen, packaging cold cut sandwiches in brown paper bags. The lunch that was served was chicken pot pie, and I was offered a slice. I politely declined, and took to washing the dishes instead. Another person I met in the kitchen was an old Army man named Vince, who lives in my native New Jersey, in a southern town called Egg Harbor. All of the people working there were good company. It was interesting seeing the diversity of people we had come in for a meal, there were the unemployed, the workers, families, the elderly, etc. One family whose mother was starting out in a new career asked for a bag of food items just to tide them over until the mom could make some real money. Jan told me that they were living in a shed and had only a microwave oven and a skillet, so I had to pack them items appropriate for the family's situation. I passed around a wicker basket filled with other foodstuffs for the consumers to take from, two items per person. A short while passed before the chicken pot pie was eaten completely. When the last slice was distributed to the last person, our work was essentially finished for the day. Then I cleaned the kitchen with some of the other volunteers, turned in my apron, and began the walk back to campus.

Posted at 03:06 pm by Alex Romano
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Dec 14, 2015

This week was the first week of November and it brought change! Not only did Bill and I work on Math today but we also worked on English! On today’s math agenda is every little kids “favorite” subject, rounding. However it was a very useful skill for Bill to master because in his problem sets it was rounding money. We talked about the differences in rounding to the nearest hundred, ten, and cent. The next part of our session was really successful. I got to teach Bill the difference between and adjective and adverb and how to change adjectives to adverbs in sentences. Needless to say Bill now knows the difference between loud and loudly and how to use them in a sentence! The big impact of today’s session however was that Bill shared that his mother, Ellen, had recently had surgery. Not only this, but she works in Servo, which is the cafeteria on campus. I was surprised to hear this because it connected my life on campus with my life volunteering out in town. I happen to know Ellen and had noticed that she had not been in Servo lately. I plan on making her a get well card and hearing about her progress next Thursday.

Posted at 10:47 pm by KBudney
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Last Day

Last Sunday was my last day working at the soup kitchen! I was sad that I would not be returning this semester but I will be sure to volunteer there next semester in my free time! I had the pleasure of working with all new people whom I had never met before, one of which was the owner of A&A boutique in town. We served cuban shepherds pie and green beans which was very good and ironically fitting to the time of year. I worked in the actual kitchen for the first time–I usually serve the people in the eating area. It was a nice change, however I had very little interaction with the people which I am glad I had all year because the experience is very different in that you do not speak to anyone who is not also a volunteer. I am very thankful to have been given the opportunity to work hands on with people who are hungry and in need.

Posted at 10:45 pm by AnnorabethM
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Dec 10, 2015

For the past three weeks I have been working with Rachel instead of Bill.  We have made lots of progress with her preparation for the English portion of the GED.  She is very good at Math but English is her weakest subject.  This is because she has a difficult time interpreting the readings and their purpose.  It does not help that most of the readings are historical documents that are already hard to read. Two weeks ago she opened up to me about her life.  She is living with her boyfriend and they have two children.  Her boyfriend has an additional son that lives with it's mother.  She just recently learned that she is pregnant with her third child.  Her goal now is to finish the GED book preparation and pass the exam before the baby comes this summer. When I asked her why she was pursuing her GED she said she really wanted to get a good job to help support her family and hopefully get a car. Rachel and I made a study plan for her that she will hopefully follow.  If she does stick to the plan she will be able to obtain her GED before her baby is born.  Volunteering these past three months at SCCAP Work Ready has been a positive impact on my first semester here at Gettysburg.  I looked forward to each Thursday morning I tutored and am thinking about returning next semester.

Posted at 10:48 pm by KBudney
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Dec 9, 2015
Day 5

Today I worked at the soup kitchen as an emergency replacement for one of the weekday volunteers.It was a very different experience in that people were less interested in enjoying each others presence and spending time at the kitchen. The workers were still just as friendly however more geared towards the goal of finishing the meal and cleaning up, whereas Sundays always felt very laid back. I found this experience important because it shows the different perspectives both sides have on weekday versus weekend. Nothing noteworthy happened in and of itself at the kitchen although this made a big impression on me personally. I really view this experience as a comparison to my overnight shelter experience where being on the receiving end of the meal was extremely eye opening and a little bit sad. I am glad to have been able to take the time out to make his important discovery!

Posted at 10:25 pm by AnnorabethM
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El centro #9

This week was the last week of El Centro due to finals being next week. The session went relatively normally, although all of the students seemed to be more energetic than normal. The atmosphere felt like it often did on the last day of school for me. There was a lot of talking, intermingling, and taking pictures. When everyone was finished with their homework, we all played a game on the computer together, which we never do. But, I think it reflects the energy I'm talking about. At first, Eduardo's energy level didn't match those of the other kids. We were struggling to do his homework, and he complained of being tired. After a little while, he decided to eat a snack because he thought he "just needed sugar" and it actually seemed to do the trick. I am glad hat my El Centro experience ended on such a happy note. Going to El Centro every Monday has become a routine at this point, and it's hard to imagine not going anymore. I hope that I am able to participate in it next semester! Maybe I could even work with Eduardo again.

Posted at 03:56 pm by Rachel Herman
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Nov 30, 2015
DCO versus DC trip

I feel as if I learned a lot more during my trip with DCO than when I went to the park when we went to DC as a class. I felt as if the DCO trip was much more engaging, and I got to learn a lot more about the homeless and their everyday struggles, especially when it gets colder outside. I found myself getting a bit cold, ready to complain that I couldn't feel my fingers, when I looked all around me and realized that this is the living conditions of so many people, and that I take my living space for granted. I was essentially stepping into the homes of these people when I asked them if they needed any clothes, which was a very eye-opening thing to do.

Posted at 10:44 pm by WynterTremlett
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