My name is Jasmine Roberts and I am a Health Services Management major attending classes at both the Brooklyn and Midtown campuses of Berkeley College. In my three years at Berkeley, there have never been any real events or clubs for our health care student population. In the Spring of 2014, Professor Trowers-Bell changed that and started an official Health Services Club on the Brooklyn campus where health majors can network, receive information for internships and jobs as well as discuss health related topics. Professor Bell brings in guest speakers for us and sets up events for us to volunteer and get our foot into the healthcare field. It is an amazing resource and even though this is my second to last quarter here at Berkeley, I will be returning after I graduate to continue to work with Professor Bell and the Health Services Club.
This particular event that we participated in was a program called City Meals on Wheels. City Meals on Wheels is a program that ensures that homebound elderly New Yorkers are provided with nutritious meals every day. When Professor Bell first introduced this volunteer trip to us at one of our meetings, it sparked my interest because my grandmother suffers from Bursitis. She cannot walk long distances without her legs and hip causing her pain, so she is often homebound and my mother visits once a month to take her food shopping. Delivering food is something many of us have never done and it seemed like a unique way to give back.
As a group we met up in the Student Activity Center around 8:30 am, got our Berkeley Cares t-shirts, signed some waivers and made our way to the train. This Meals on Wheels operates out of the St. Malachy’s Church on West 49th Street in NYC. When we arrived, we had to sign in and take a seat. We were in this large cafeteria where they were preparing the meals and there were also some senior citizens seated having breakfast. They seemed very comfortable and happy. There were nine of us, so we were split into groups of two and one group of three. We received our routes and one of the kitchen volunteers explained to us how the food distribution worked. We also saw other volunteers returning from their morning routes. After we exchanged numbers, we split up and began delivering our meals.
Now I know the name is City Meals on Wheels, but we did not have vehicles. They were more like large push carts, but none the less we still managed even though they were super heavy. I was lucky to be paired up with Professor Bell because we had a lot of fun.
The best part about this event was seeing the need on the recipients’ faces. These meals were important to them and we made it happen. One man was at home with his wife and nurse when we rang his bell. The previous man didn’t answer his door so as per rules, the following person on the list receives his meals to ensure that all of the food is distributed and nothing returns back to the church. When Professor Bell told him that he would be getting extra food, his face lit up, and he asked her if she was sure. She assured him that it was alright and he was excited. Its moments like this that make giving back to the community so rewarding. Events such as this one help build character and teach people to appreciate everything in life.