A different kind of spring break
Published 10:37 pm Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Emilyne Hubbard didn’t care to spend her spring break from James Madison University partying on a Caribbean island.
Instead, she spent the week in Washington, D.C., working at a nonprofit organization that delivers meals and groceries to people with terminal or serious illnesses.
Hubbard, a JMU sophomore who hopes to become an elementary-school teacher, said she heard about the “alternative spring break” opportunity through a friend at the college. They signed up and were chosen in a lottery to be able to go.
Email newsletter signup
“I thought it sounded like a good idea,” Hubbard said.
While other college students took the more “traditional” tropical vacation, she and a group of eight other students from JMU made the trip to work with Food and Friends. The students, along with an adviser who traveled with them, helped make and assemble the meals and also helped deliver them.
“We made over 4,000 meals for terminally ill patients in the Washington, D.C., area,” Hubbard said. “I found it to be really awe-inspiring.”
“Before the trip, I’d never really done community service,” said Hubbard, who graduated from Nansemond River High School. “I really wasn’t thinking about it.”
Hubbard said she appreciated the opportunity to go on the trip and learned a lot from the nonprofit leaders.
“One of the leaders told us they wanted to make food that was good, because you never know if that’s going to be the person’s last meal,” she said. “That really touched me. “If anyone wants to volunteer in Washington, D.C., Food and Friends was an amazing place to work.”
Hubbard said she got the opportunity to meet other people, particularly a woman suffering from illness who encouraged the young people to make the most of their lives.
“She was so cool, and she gave us so much advice about life and not being afraid to try new things,” she said.
Hubbard said the experience has helped her get inspired to become more involved.
“There’s so much I can do to help other people,” she said. “It made me want to take a bigger role in my community and become a more engaged citizen.”