On a cold Sunday, Jan. 8, four Bloomsburg University students and their chaperones traveled four hours to Mount Alvernia in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They were on a mission: to spend a week serving the most poor and vulnerable in and around our Pittsburgh region.
Sponsored annually by the Change A Heart Franciscan Volunteer Program, students spent their days traveling to various service sites, lending a helping hand to people in need at:
- the warming stations at Catholic Charities
- Ms. Nancy’s Monday night street ministry in the city of Pittsburgh
- the East End Cooperative food pantry
- the Light of Life donation center
- St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality for homeless men
Students also attended liturgies and joined the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities for supper. By the end of the week, they found their lives had been enriched and they shared these reflections:
- “This week has really opened my heart to those in need. It has truly been a life changing week and I cannot be any more proud to say that I did it.”
- “This trip changed my life. It allowed me to see into the life of someone giving their life for those in need. It’s hard and tedious at times, but it was also incredibly joyful. By living like Saints Francis and Clare, I was blessed immensely. I know I’ll take these lessons with me as I move forward in life.”
- “Spending a week with Change A Heart Franciscan Volunteer Program brought me such joy and experiences I will never forget.”
The Change A Heart Franciscan Volunteer Program hosts college service groups each year in fall, winter and spring. In March, Niagara University and Marywood University with find their way to Pittsburgh to give a week of service.
For more information, visit changeaheartvolunteers.org.