Alternative Spring Break Immersion Trip to Kansas City
Countless people are living in the margins of society. The homeless struggle to find shelter and food all over the United States, from Oakland, CA to Boston, MA. Instead of spending my break back home in good ol’ Carol Stream, IL, I caught a mega-bus at Union Station and headed out to Kansas City, MO on a Alternative Spring Break Immersion (ABI) trip, called The Works of Mercy. University Minister, Matt Palkert, led the group with junior Corey McClure as his student leader. My fellow volunteers and I worked at the Cherith Brook Catholic Worker community in the outskirts of town.
Dominican University alternative spring breakers blow insulation into the roof of a Kansas City, MO home they were fixing up.
I never experienced a dull moment on this trip. One of our tasks was to help insulate a home, and it turned out to be much harder than it looks. While I was on the ground tearing open packages of insulation, which expands to four times it's size, my fellow ABI volunteers, Megan Knape and Catholic Worker, Josh Armfield were up on the roof of the home we were insulating with the insulation blower tube in hand. We tried to make as little of a mess as possible, which is no small feat considering how insulation easily spreads out like new fallen snow. There are numerous chickens on the ground, who clucked around between the two homes. We quickly raked up as much loose insulation as possible so that the chickens would not eat much of it. At the heart of the trip was time spent among the homeless and financially burdened. Four days a week Cherith Brookopens its doors to anyone wishing for a hearty breakfast. Twenty people from the street are able to sign up for a shower and a clean set of clothes. During these times in the morning I held conversations with some of the local volunteers and the homeless. I experienced both shy and lively conversations with those who came in for breakfast.
I get so energized by participating in service trips like this past Spring ABI trips. Strengthening friendships with fellow volunteers and creating long-distance connections are just some of the lasting benefits. ABI trips have the power to widen and change perspectives.