From a mask drive, can drive, frozen turkey collection, preparing lunches for the homeless, and working with a neighborhood food bank, Haverford students enthusiastically engaged in community service projects this fall. According to Director of Service Learning Ms. Jini Loos, service projects were limited during the pandemic. With restrictions lifting, students have been able to re-engage with community-based organizations in more meaningful ways.
This year’s can drive reached its goal collecting 3,000 cans. Sixth Former and Service Board co-president Damian Ferraro credits the success to the behind-the-scenes work that goes into the drive.
“It is not just collecting the cans,” Ferraro said. “There is a lot of logistics that go into it: how do we promote it, drum up support, how do we pack and transport thousands of cans.”
Ferraro notes that one of the things he has learned being at Haverford is how you can rally a lot of students with a common cause; it’s empowering when you understand the ways in which students can cultivate energy to create a change.
Sixth Former Aidan Boyle led the frozen turkey collection before Thanksgiving.
“The collection was a great success. In previous years the drive has been more straightforward, but this year, due to supply chain issues caused by the pandemic, more coordination and planning was required,” Boyle said.
“Joining the Service Board was one of the best things I have ever done at this school.”Aidan Boyle ’22
Some stores had limits on the number of turkeys that could be purchased at one time, which meant Boyle had to strategize how to buy turkeys with donated funds. Boyle contacted individual stores and convinced classmates to help. In the end, the collection yielded 111 turkeys that were donated to Project HOME for Thanksgiving.
“Joining the Service Board was one of the best things I have ever done at this school,” Boyle said.
While participation in service projects is not required, lots of students opt-in. Haverford had 53 students volunteer at the Special Olympics this fall, in a collaboration with Agnes Irwin and Baldwin, 60 students are signed up to make lunches for the homeless. This year’s mask drive collected over 2,000 masks.
“We encourage our students to be active participants, rather than spectators to the world; community service is a way to engage, rather than just watch,” Ms. Loos said.
This fall, every Third Former had the opportunity to volunteer at the Memorial Church of God in Christ food pantry, which is just steps away from the school. While at the food pantry students helped box food and pack cars with boxes for delivery.
“This gave me a new perspective on hunger… seeing a place for people who need help within walking distance from our school was extremely impactful and showed me what an extensive issue food insecurity is,” said Third Former Ian Rosenweig.
The Third Form Called to Serve Project embodies the benefits of service.
Upcoming service opportunities include the Coat Drive and the Toys for Tots program. There will be a gently used book collection in the Lower School throughout January leading up to MLK Day. Students interested in participating in community service projects can contact Ms. Loos or any member of the Service Board.
“Projects such as this foster relationships with people in a way that gives students a perspective of people and conditions that are not like their own and gives the community a better perspective of Haverford students,” Ms. Loos said. “Service and community engagement becomes a part of the foundation for how [Haverford] boys walk through the world.”