More than 300 students came together for Community Action Project’s Helping Hands Day on Saturday. Students spent the day volunteering for 25 organizations in and around the Hamden and New Haven area.
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The service projects included doing crafts with dementia patients at Hamden Health Care, cleaning up the East Shore Rock beach, sorting food at the Connecticut Food Bank, running a diaper drive for Connecticut Partnership for Children, gardening at the Meriden Humane Society, and painting flower pots for Masonicare. Volunteers were also encouraged to help make friendship bracelets and cards for patients in the BAWA Health Initiative and Yale-New Haven Hospital.
“It is important for students to give back to the community that we live in,” event organizer Jenna Bedard said. “It’s great to see so many students come out so early on Saturday morning to do community service projects.The organizations that students go to are so grateful to have someone there that cares and is willing to help give back to our community.”
Although Quinnipiac University reaches out to the community for Big Event in the spring, Helping Hands Day was created to give students an opportunity to volunteer in the fall, explained Bedard, who served as event organizer with fellow CAP Special Events co-chair Jenna Mojkowski.
“We also get a lot freshman volunteers, so it’s a great way for freshmen to get involved in community service early in the year,” Bedard said.
In its third year at Quinnipiac, Saturday’s Helping Hands Day was the largest yet. There were about 60 more participants this year compared to last year’s event.
“CAP is trying to make this event bigger and bigger each year,” Bedard said.
A goal of Helping Hands Day is to give students an opportunity to assist organizations in the Hamden area.
Gardening at the animal shelter Meriden Humane Society left freshman Jaminla Ojuruwa-Abdulkarim feeling accomplished.
“I felt like I was helping the people,” Ojuruwa-Abdulkarim said.
Helping Hands Day inspired freshman Hannah Grigorian to volunteer at the Connecticut Food Bank again, where she sorted non-perishable items.
“They have excess work all the time and have a lot of produce coming in,” Grigorian said.
In this way, Helping Hands is not just a one-day event, but a way to introduce students to community service and make them aware of its value.