The Wexner Service Corps is a program designed to inspire and unite Columbus-area Jewish teens to engage in service learning. The Service Corps is open to high school juniors and seniors to participate in a week-long service trip, followed by a year of monthly volunteering and Jewish learning.

On Sunday, October 14, we volunteered at St. Stephen’s Community House. When we volunteer, we like to learn about the organizations we work with. We learned that St. Stephen’s has services for everyone from babies to senior citizens, including daycare, a food pantry, healthcare program, programs to help teenagers find jobs and many others. This organization is an amazing and important addition to the Linden neighborhood. St. Stephen’s reminds me of synagogues and JCCs in our own Jewish community in the way that it brings people together for a good cause and to feel like they are part of the community.

While we were there, we helped winterize their farm and clear out older plants and weeds so they could use the space more efficiently. This type of service can sometimes be difficult because we don’t get to see the eventual result when people from the neighborhood will benefit from the produce and fresh food that is grown there. But, in the Wexner Service Corps, we work to do the service that is needed right now even if it means not seeing the direct result of our work.

After we gardened we had a learning session about food insecurity. We learned about sacrifices people make to get their families food and how not having enough food can affect a family. We read a story about a little boy whose grades were declining because he didn’t have food, and who noticed that his mom didn’t eat so that he could. It was very upsetting to hear about these families that had trouble finding nutritious or any food at all. But, it was encouraging to know that so many organizations try to help overcome this by supplying nutritious and accessible food. We also discussed the positive and negative aspects of canned food drives, and how it might be more beneficial to donate money to food banks who can purchase canned goods at significantly reduced prices compared to regular grocery stores.

Overall, I had a great, thought-provoking experience and was very happy to be able to help out the center that does so much to help its community.

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Blair Glimcher is a junior at Columbus School for girls and a member of Congregation Tifereth Israel.