Students, employees partner with church, dining services to feed community

full-bellies

Brett Notarius ’14 (East Amherst, N.Y.) is not new to volunteer work, but every time he gets involved with a Marietta College project he seems to be amazed at the impact it makes on everyone.

“When the campus organizes, and is able to get students, faculty, and staff to join together to volunteer we not only help the people who we are serving, but also we ourselves grow and benefit as well,” he says. “This happens on a deeper level than just going through the motions of service. We grow when we build relationships, and connections with each other and those enjoying a free meal. Service also provides a great avenue for volunteers, especially students, to better understand the community in which they live in, as well as those who live in it.”

Notarius was one of 31 students who recently completed 41.25 hours of community service while feeding the hungry at the Daily Bread Kitchen in the Harmar area of Marietta.

Also volunteering to help serve 208 meals were 13 Marietta College employees and eight members of The Journey Church of Marietta.

It was the first time Marietta partnered with The Journey Church, according to Cristie Thomas, Marietta’s Civic Engagement Coordinator. She also noted the College’s dining service partner, Parkhurst, donated food and provided employees to help.

“I am beyond excited about the sheer number of volunteers and volunteer hours put into serving the community meal,” Thomas says. “It was an amazing showing of community and togetherness in service to Marietta. I would like to extend a sincere thank you to Parkhurst Dining Services who have time and time again shown their commitment to community.”

Sydney Maltese ’14 (Massillon, Ohio) has been collaborating with the Daily Bread Kitchen since she first arrived at Marietta. She believes the Office of Civic Engagement’s long-term relationship with the kitchen provides Marietta’s students with a great opportunity to connect with the broader community.

“Each time I volunteer at the Daily Bread Kitchen, I learn something more about food insecurity in Appalachia and reinforce my own passion for changing the way we think about food in this country,” she says. “The most engaging part of my volunteer experience by far is the time I spend conversing with members of the community that I would not have otherwise been able to meet. When students sit and the tables and converse with people from all walks of life over that community meal, I feel completely energized to continue the work that we do with the Office of Civic Engagement.”

Maltese was pleased with turnout, which included students and employees.

“It proves just how valuable students and staff alike view the opportunities offered by the OCE,” she says.

Dr. Bob Pastoor, Vice President for Student Life, was one of 52 volunteers who provided 96.5 hours of service.

“I had the pleasure of preparing lunches and serving the folks who came to the K of C in Harmar for their lunches and I did this alongside Marietta students, faculty, and staff and with the church volunteers,” Pastoor says. “The fact that much of the food was donated by our food service partners, Parkhurst Dining, makes this a truly unique outreach. It’s truly gratifying to be able to form these partnerships and give back to our local community.”

John Shaffer, Director of Parkhurst Dining Services at Marietta, understands the value of a good partnership.

“It is important to us that we build a strong relationship with Marietta College, and we also realize we are part of the larger Marietta community,” he says. “When an opportunity like this presents itself we want to show our commitment to both. We are pleased that we were in a position to provide food for this worthwhile venture.”

Notarius, who is in his final year at Marietta, says the cumulative volunteer opportunities he has encountered in college has added value to his overall experience.

“I believe we owe a big thanks to the Office of Civic Engagement and Cristie Thomas, who really helped make the day happen,” he says. “From my own experiences, my most profound development as a person comes from things outside of the classroom, rather than cramming for that science quiz five minutes before class.”

TOM PERRY

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