There is nothing glamorous about rolling out of bed before 7 a.m. – especially on the morning of Halloween – but for freshmen Emily Helpbern and Rebecca Quarella, not even an active social life could stop them from serving breakfast at the Dinner Program for Homeless Women last Wednesday morning.
“I wouldn’t miss it, even if it meant missing a night out for Halloween. They need every volunteer they have and they’re relying on you,” Helpburn said.
The program has been catering to the homeless community of women and their children since 1979, and has expanded since its inception to include more meals like breakfasts for men and women, as well as outreach programs like employment training. The nonprofit provides breakfast to anywhere from 150 to 450 men and women everyday.
The Neighbor’s Project, which is a part of Office of Community Service, recruits students to serve at the breakfast. Helpbern and Quarella began volunteering for the program in what started out as an assignment for a University Writing course.
“For the class we had to do 20 hours of community service somewhere, and this was such an amazing experience that I am definitely coming back next semester,” Helpburn said. The Halloween breakfast is served at 8:30 a.m., but volunteers have to check in early to get organized before the event.
Helpburn and Quarella volunteer for the program each Wednesday and Friday morning, volunteering in the kitchen to make meals for homeless people in the area. They also sign them up for free showers and supplies.
“I love it. It’s my favorite part of the week now,” Quarella said. “Its definitely tough getting up in the morning, especially after a Thursday night, but it’s worth it,” she said.
Helpburn and Quarella both said that the best thing about the breakfast is the kinds of people they meet, and the relationships they build.
Helpburn said, “The people you meet here are incredible. It breaks all your stereotypes about the kinds of people you would expect to meet.”