Volunteers will sing carols at St. Francis Nursing home on Dec. 14
By Liandre De La Uso
Hours before her wedding ceremony, sociology freshman Joanna Morales and her soon-to-be husband, Ian Brand, were serving sausage wraps and clam chowder to the homeless.
“I feel like there’s a truth that a lot of people don’t realize,” Morales-Brand said. “You really do find happiness to giving to those who need it.”
The two volunteered along with seven other students 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Nov. 16 at the Catholic Worker House, 626 Nolan St., which was founded in 1985.
Morales and Brand were married at 4 p.m. by a justice of the peace at the Paul Elizondo Tower. 101 W. Nueva St.
They have been engaged since July 4 and plan a larger ceremony in March.
The soup kitchen, which is open five days a week, serves dozens of homeless people and provides basic services, such as access to a phone, laundry and restrooms. Local businesses donate goods for the soup kitchen to serve.
The students were welcomed by resident volunteers who instructed them on how to prep the meals and serve the guests.
On the menu were sausage wraps, assorted fruits, cheese and clam chowder. Guests lined up behind the house and ate in the garden area. Many are regulars and have formed a tight-knit community.
“The volunteers here are very respectful when they’re out here helping us,” Anthony Miller, 49, said. “For me it’s god-sent. I’ve been coming in from the streets, from another city, and I’m hungry.”
The event is part of a series of volunteer opportunities sponsored by the office of student life and organized by civil engagement Coordinator Joseph Liedecke.
He said he has been creating volunteer opportunities for students at this college since 2002 through the Catholic Student Organization before he was hired by the college as the coordinator for civil engagement.
“It gives me such joy and a feeling of satisfaction knowing that I’m helping someone else that is need, that is less fortunate than me,” Liedecke said. “(When I was young) I was always volunteering. I guess you could say it’s a passion of mine.”
Students participated in a group reflection session within the chapel area of the worker house. Most of the being first-time volunteers shared their experiences and impressions from working with the homeless.
“I definitely feel very humbled,” business sophomore Karen Ortiz said. “I have a family member who definitely will enjoy this.”
She is the president of the Student Government Association at this college.
“I’ve never had any students not enjoy the reflection time,” Liedecke said. “Some of them are in their 30s now, and they’ll remind me of their experiences.”
Student life is hosting one more volunteer event this year on Dec. 14 at the St.
Francis Nursing Home. Students will sing Christmas carols. Liedecke is still coordinating with the nursing home to determine a time.
For more information, contact Liedecke at firstname.lastname@example.org or the office of student life at 210-486-012.