Thousands participate in Make A Difference Day


Oct. 22, 2016 marked one of the largest service events in the nation. Tis event is known as Make A Difference Day. Make A Difference Day is when students, faculty and parents unite to serve their communities and make them even better.

Mahatma Gandhi, the famed Indian leader and activist, describes service as a way to help those in need, not just an incentive for rewards: “It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important .” With MADD, there are stories to change and experiences to be made.

SLU had over 3600 volunteers attending this event. Students and faculty united with different families in order to make this mission successful. Organizations such as Alpha Phi Omega and Alpha Epsilon Delta participated in MADD. In the kickoff ceremony, SLU President Fred Pestello greeted all the volunteers and described service as “paramount.”

Molly Meyer, a sophomore at SLU, went with her APO family to help the community. Her project was at Forest Park, in collaboration with Forest Releaf of Missouri, an organization whose mission is to nurture for plants and trees in Missouri and Illinois. She and her group went to the greenhouses and separated baby trees in different orders. They then collected those trees in a truck. Not only did Meyer impact the community, but she also had a blast with her family.

Eris Rolves, a freshman at SLU, was exuberant to participate in this big event. She volunteered with the SLU Dietetics Association and they went to Southside Senior Citizens Center. She pulled weeds, planted trees and re-did the landscaping. After a few hours of work and effort, Eris and her group transformed the garden into a beautiful spectacle.

I also went to MADD with APO, specifically with the Nu family. We went to New Root Urban Farm, a garden located 10 miles northeast of SLU. We learned a lot about gardening and agriculture. The garden used  drip-irrigation to supply water to crops. They also had disposals used to collect compost and organic waste. Running a garden is very difficult because not only do they work 70-80 hours a week, but they also must make sure ends meet. We helped out by snipping weeds and plants unnecessary for the garden. We used tools such as garden pliers to help us cut these plants. By noon, we had a picnic and discussed the merits of gardening and volunteering. I had a great time. I learned more about gardening and agriculture.

Why is MADD an important event? MADD is something unique and occurs at a day where many serve others rather than themselves. It raises awareness to individuals as well as companies about the merits of volunteering. MADD also inspires several students to volunteer continuously. There are so many on- and off-campus opportunities. It only takes commitment and a drive to help.

What is next for service? There are service opportunities each and every day. One popular service location is Campus Kitchen. Its mission is to help the poor by donating food. Service positions include cooking, delivery and sorting. I have delivered food to the community living in Grand View Apartments as well as those living in Council Towers. I have seen many with smiles on their faces once they know that we have arrived.

For more information about this opportunity, just go to the SLU website and find information about Campus Kitchen. Next semester, there will be another big event known as Showers of Service. This event is basically the second semester version of MADD. Stay tuned next semester to receive info about Showers of Service.

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