Spring break was about more than just rest and relaxation for members of the student group SHARE (Strengthening Healthcare through Actionable Research and Evidence). For us, it was time to spring into service, working with City Harvest and Habitat for Humanity to give back to the New York City community. The two projects were part of an alternative spring break initiative.
Supplying Fresh Food in Queens for Families in Need
By Naomi Kruger, MPH ’14 in Health Policy and Management and Co-director of Community Building for SHARE
Our first project took place on Thursday, March 21, when Chloe Lanzara, Rachel Leep, Nora Springstubb, and I volunteered with City Harvest’s Mobile Market in Astoria, Queens. It is just one of several locations that distributes fresh fruits and vegetables twice a month, free-of-charge, to hungry New Yorkers. Each of the mobile markets is located on a New York City Housing Authority site in communities with high rates of obesity and diabetes, making the free access to nutritious food of great value to residents.
Over the course of our day, we joined several other volunteers in setting up the market and distributing the food. From weighing onions, bagging sweet potatoes, and counting grapefruits, to handing out bags full of vegetables and fruit to the market attendees, we aimed to increase access to healthier food.
Bringing Pep & Some Pop to East Harlem Seniors
By Charishma Chotalia, MPH ’14 in Health Policy and Management and Co-Director of Community Building for SHARE
The following day, on Friday, March 22, four other Mailman students and I volunteered with Habitat for Humanity at a senior center in East Harlem. Hialy Gutierrez, Mala Dorai, and Sophia Steinberger joined me at the Corsi Senior Center, which hosts various activities for older adults, including lunch service, recreational events, and holiday parties. We contributed the full day to painting the entryway and upstairs waiting area in an effort to revitalize the space and make it more welcoming for the seniors who use its services.
During both Alternative Spring Break projects, we were able to step out of the classroom and give back to a community that really appreciated our help.
SHARE exists to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and knowledge to support Mailman School students in conducting robust, actionable research to potentially inform health policies and practices. For more information, please visit http://www.share-initiative.org.