WS_mlkday2 In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Woodstock Job Corps Center designated January 9 through January 16 as Service Week. Various community service projects were initiated, spearheaded by the Student Government Association (SGA) and supported by staff and students alike. The main project was addressing concern with the homeless population through volunteering at various shelters in Baltimore.

The Student Government Association visited the Manna House in Baltimore on Jan. 9. Undeterred by the briskness or earliness of the morning, the SGA were on hand to fill empty stomachs with mixed vegetables, succotash, hot coffee, bread, and various pastries.

Manna House clients were plentiful and hungry; they and the staff were very appreciative of SGA’s service.

SGA students Ellean Bell, Isaiah Jackson, Markia Alston, and Darryl Burks were then joined by students Jessica Gonzalez and Iesha Henson for a late morning’s lunch service at My Sister’s Place Women’s Center in downtown Baltimore. This Women’s Center specializes in offering a variety of services to homeless women.

Woodstock students kept busy from start to finish preparing place settings, napkins, making plates, serving meals, and washing dishes.

The staff were also highly energetic and had wonderfully positive attitudes. Many women many stopped back after their meal to thank the students for their service.

The final event in Woodstock’s Service Week garnered the largest turnout. Fourteen students packed vans and headed to south Baltimore to serve dinner to the population of homeless men at the American Rescue Workers church.

Spaghetti was on the menu this evening in heaping portions, served by students Guner Loughrey and Artrisica Miller. Other students eagerly and happily took plates to the men seated at each table, along with sodas and silverware. They later washed dishes and organized the shelves and snack tables.

The more community service events were scheduled, the more sought-after and successful they became. By the end of the week, word had spread such that event signup lists were filled and students had to be turned away because the venues couldn’t accommodate the number of volunteers!

Students came away with a stronger understanding of the magnitude of the homeless issue in Baltimore. There was some shock, and in some cases discomfort, but this was overwhelmed by student’s compassion for those in need. Their positive attitudes and behavior not only represented Woodstock well wherever they went, but they also served to help build a strong foundation for future opportunities in the Baltimore community.