NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

NECC Students volunteer at Lazarus House

When spring break comes, students at NECC are looking for something productive to do. One of the ways they can do that is through the school’s Safe Spring Break activities. This year NECC offered students the opportunity to work in different shelters around the Merrimack Valley.
Karla Marte, a Business Transfer student, and Ray Florent, an Elementary Education major, joined seven other students and staff at the Lazarus House in Lawrence. They spent the day there cleaning the facilities and helping out with cooking.
Florent said, “There were nine of us who attended. We cleaned the place from top to bottom and organized all the food and supplies that they had on hand.”
Lots of cleaning and cooking was part of the plan for the students helping out. They were serving meatballs that day and had their work cut out for them — there were a lot of people to feed that day.
“We had to make about fifteen pounds of meatballs, and it turned out to be about two hundred,” said Florent. “I have never made that many meatballs in my life.”
Marte was assigned a number of different jobs around Lazarus House, including vacuuming stairs, rooms and area rugs. She was also a big part in making the meatballs, which was her main project to work on. She loved every minute of it, except having to wear a hairnet for the first time.
“The hair net is just a funny memory that Ray and I had, along with him unplugging the vacuum on me,” said Marte. “We were there to help out with serious work, but you can always have fun doing it at the same time.”
Alba Diaz, a Business Transfer student, did not take part in the event, but knows both Florent and Marte and feels like that people sometimes take having food to eat for granted. She, for one, is comfortable in her living situation and does not have to worry about things to eat.
Diaz said, “We take buying food for granted. Sometimes we don’t realize or even think how other people might be living.”
Even though the students went there only to help out people who need a little extra help at this moment in their life, the students did receive something in return: they had a great feeling inside of them for what they did.
Marte said, “It was a really nice experience. It’s rewarding to do something for others without expecting anything in return. I wish we had group trips to volunteer like this more often.”
Florent said, “I have volunteered at different places before and it always feels good to help out. I think students who have never done this or are afraid to should really step outside of their comfort zone and give it a try.”