Wednesday September 16, 2015

A Little Too Early on a Saturday Morning...

After a long week of classes, the only thing on the minds of many students is sleep. Whether that means a long nap after their last class on Friday or a few extra hours on Saturday morning, they can’t wait to get that much needed quality time with their bed. So the thought of waking up early on a weekend morning doesn’t sit right with many people, and yet there I was rolling out of bed at 7:00 am this past Saturday.

The reason for my much dreaded departure from the warm safety of my bed? A Service Saturday Trip to Mission of Mary farm. I’m a leader for Service Saturday, which is an awesome organization on campus that takes day trips to various service organizations in the Dayton area. Since I’m a leader, I was trying to get energized since my energy level will no doubt impact the energy level of the participants who would expectedly be tired as well. But as I was getting ready, I was having a hard time picking up my pace. It wasn’t the crisp air that greeted me as I left my apartment that finally woke me up, nor was it the long walk to pick up the Campus Ministry vans. It wasn’t until my partner and I were standing outside of Liberty Hall (at the back side of the chapel) waiting for people to arrive that I realized that I needed to put a serious “pep in my step”. And what prompted this realization was the chiming of the chapel bells. Something about the loud and comforting noise made me come to my senses and recognize just what I was waking up so early for and the importance of it.

I was not familiar with Mission of Mary before I found out that I was leading this particular service trip, so I was surprised to find the type of impact they have on the Dayton community. Mission of Mary is an urban farm in West Dayton. It serves an inner city and impoverished neighborhood in just one of Ohio’s many food deserts. In order to combat the food desert, Mission of Mary grows fresh crops and sells them at affordable prices to the residents of the surrounding area. This provides the residents with not only a place to buy food at an affordable price, but provides them with healthy and wholesome food that surpasses canned goods and processed foods found at the gas stations and convenience stores that many people resort to. While at the farm, my task was small (covering the green house doors with plastic), but I kept reminding myself that this was furthering the progress and work of the people that run the farm and in turn, impacting those people that the farm serves. Some of the other tasks that the participants of this Service Saturday had to do included: dealing with worm dung, flipping compost, and weeding. At our reflection lunch, many people felt the same way as I did. The idea that our work seemed so small, but that we recognized and knew we were doing something impactful for the community was prevalent in our discussion.

Needless to say, service, regardless of what it is, is important. We are called, especially here at UD where we hold our Marianist values close to our hearts, to serve.  So, if you ever have the chance to do service through the University, or even through some other organization outside of UD, take it. Even if it means you have to wake up earlier than you’d like, the feeling of giving back to a community and knowing you’ve made an impact always beats the cozy feeling of your bed. 

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