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Alternative Breaks Focus on Poverty, Health, Food Insecurity

“Alternative Breaks has allowed me to … meet new people in an exciting way … and have experiences that I will never forget.” — Payton Hirschenberger.

Alternative Break students.Alternative Break students.Alternative Break community service opportunities focusing on rural poverty, food insecurity, health care and environmental stewardship await Alma College students during their winter break Feb. 25 through March 2.

“Alma College Alternative Breaks has allowed me to serve with friends and meet new people in an exciting way,” says Payton Hirschenberger, Freeland junior. “The relationships you develop with other volunteers are quite special.”

In the most recent survey by Break Away, the national organization that supports the development of alternative break experiences, Alma College ranked third in the nation in the percentage of students who take part in alternative break service trips.

“I was required to do a number of service hours in high school and honestly didn’t enjoy having those experiences forced upon me at the time,” says Hirschenberger. “However, when I came to college, I noticed that there was something missing in my life. Alternative Breaks has allowed me to have experiences that I will never forget.”

Alma College Alternative Breaks: Feb. 25-March 2

Food Insecurity—YMCA of Western North Carolina, Asheville, N.C.
Participants will work with staff to procure, sort and distribute food to families who are experiencing food insecurity. This will include assisting in mobile markets, nutrition demonstrations and food drives.

Rural Poverty—Appalachia Service Project, Guyan Valley, W. Va.
Students will aid this organization in its mission to eradicate substandard housing in the Central Appalachian region. Volunteers will complete critical, essential and effective home repairs.

Health Care—SERVE901, Memphis, Tenn.
Participants will be looking at an urban response to health in under-served populations. Additionally, they will learn about the Civil Rights movement and culture of the area while visiting schools, churches, museums and hospitals.

Alternative Break students.Environmental Stewardship—Congaree National Park, S.C.
While camping at the park, participants will spend time providing services most necessary to the park. Removal of invasive species and park maintenance are possible projects.

Environmental Stewardship—Mammoth Cave National Park, Ky.
Volunteers will help with trail maintenance and other projects necessary to prepare for the spring season.

Story published on February 15, 2019