Upon arriving to John Cabot University, there were many volunteering opportunities and clubs offered to us. The one that stuck out the most to me was the STAND club, in which members go to Joel Nafuma Refugee Center in groups of 8-10 people every Friday morning from 9-12am to socialize, work in the supply room, or help serve breakfast to member refugees. This center is open only from 9-12am as a place for refugees to socialize and eat breakfast, since many of the boarding homes for refugees require them to leave during the day. The past few times I have gone, I have worked in the supply room. The supply room is stocked with clothing, shoes, jackets, and hygiene products. Every member is allowed to take up to 10 clothing items, 2 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of underwear and 2 toothbrushes every month. Every three months, they can each take one pair of shoes, one heavy jacket, and one backpack. Each member has a green card that indicates the above and every time they take something, we record it on their green card. Helping the members picks items out and find correct sizes was really rewarding, as each and every one of them was grateful for our help and donations. While three volunteers are in the supply room, the rest are socializing with the refugees or helping hand out food. It is truly a wonderful opportunity to help make someone’s day just a little bit easier, and it’s also really amazing to hear some of their stories.
Another way we have been volunteering is by handing out breakfast to the homeless through the organization La Ronda della Solidarietà. La Ronda della Solidarietà sets up tables in a piazza in Trastevere in which they serve everything from coffee and pastries to pasta, all donated by local citizens or restaurants. As UD students at JCU we bring a basket of fruit as our contribution and help distribute all the food. This usually lasts about and hour and a half because the food goes very quickly. Not only is it fulfilling to be directly serving the needy, but it is also amazing to be able to connect with some of the people and hear their personal stories. By taking part in this service activity, I increased my awareness of the world. I do not have any pictures from my time serving because taking photos is not allowed, understandably. However, here are some images of the refugee center that I found online, including the social area with foosball tables, the supply room, and some of the members holding the center’s slogan.