Central students, faculty, staff make service day successful

Volunteers at Meals from the Heartland in West Des Moines helped package 31,536 meals that will be distributed to local and international food pantries.

PELLA — Central College held its annual Service Day on Oct. 6 with more than 650 volunteers taking part in 50 projects. Service Day has been a cornerstone of the Central experience since 2006.

Students, faculty and staff volunteered for projects in Pella and the surrounding area. Service Day is organized by Central's Office of Community-Based Learning. The event is part of Central's commitment to service-learning throughout the year. More than 45 academic courses across 15 departments include semester-long components in service-learning.

"This year was especially exciting with the chance to do civic engagement projects - learning about community issues and using knowledge, skills and voice to cultivate positive change," says Rachelle Talbott, associate director of community-based learning.

Civic engagement projects included three letter-writing campaigns to elected officials and voter registration efforts.

"Service Day gives our students and staff the opportunity to learn about the impactful work our partner agencies are doing in the community," Talbott adds. "It's a chance for students to step away from their textbooks, for staff to get away from their desks and make an impact locally, nationally and internationally."

In total, there were 1,821 hours donated with an economic impact in the community of more than $43,000.

One of the highlights annually of Service Day is planting bulbs for the Pella History Society and Museum in preparation for Tulip Time. Other highlights this year, Talbott says, include:

• Volunteers packaged 31,536 meals for Meals from the Heartland; meals will be distributed to local and international food pantries.

• Students, faculty and staff put together 432 toothbrush kits for Head Start in Des Moines.

• More than 100 chestnut trees were mulched for Barnswallow Flowers and Produce.

• 40 hygiene kits were prepared for Urban Bike Food Ministry.

Recommended for you