On October 24th, University Ministry hosted October Outreach, an annual, half-day service opportunity for USF community members to volunteer with several agencies throughout the city.
Early on that foggy Saturday morning, I joined about 75 other sleepy USF students, staff, and faculty on Gleeson Plaza in preparation for our morning of service.
This intrepid group of Dons would disperse to organizations throughout the Bay Area, including Meals on Wheels, St. Vincent De Paul Center, Root & Rebound, Exploratorium, Ocean Beach, SF Food Bank, SF Botanical Garden Society, and St. Anthony’s.
This was my first time participating in October Outreach, so I chose to volunteer at St. Anthony’s Free Clothing program. Here’s how St. Anthony’s describes their program:
“St. Anthony Foundation’s Free Clothing Program is San Francisco’s largest free clothing program, providing warm clothes, interview or employment apparel, and children’s clothing to homeless and low-income families and individuals. Through nearly $3 million worth of clothing donations from individuals and corporate partners and the dedication of nearly 1,200 volunteer hours each month, the program provides 39,000 sets of free new and like-new clothing to nearly 11,000 guests each year, including over 2,900 children.”
I spent the morning with about 25 of my fellow Dons, sorting clothing donations by type and size and hanging clothes that would be available for St. Anthony’s guests.
It was such a fun and rewarding morning. I was able to meet and talk with USF students that I would not have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. Together, we learned about the great mission and programs at St. Anthony’s. And our work directly supported St. Anthony’s distribution of free, new and like-new clothing to people in need.
I would encourage all faculty, staff, and students to join in during the next October Outreach. Volunteering as a community is a powerful experience. It only took a morning, but we learned together and served together. It helped me feel like a part of the USF community, a community that has a positive impact and dare I say it, a community that can change the world from here.