Sondra Chipkin’s Experience Volunteering in a Women’s Shelter During an Alternative Spring Break Trip to Savannah, Georgia

By Sondra Chipkin

One of my favorite places that we visited in Savannah, Georgia was Magdalene House. This is an emergency shelter for women and their children to stay temporarily until they can find housing. While our group was there we able to sit in on a basic nutrition class. These women were taught about ways to eat healthy and how to prepare meals easily. It was very informative for us because we learned how much salt is put in food that we buy compared to the food we make ourselves.

After learning about the shelter, we got the opportunity to cook a big meal for the residents there. Our group prepared the whole meal ourselves and it took a few hours to cook the dinner. Our menu included mashed potatoes, salad, chicken tenders, macaroni and cheese, and smoothies for dessert. We all worked as a team to cook this meal and even though it took a long time to finish and we were tired afterwords, we felt good about feeding people who do not normally get a big meal like this. I was serving these young children our food who kept asking for more, and I was very happy that they enjoyed all this food. When I was done cooking and serving these children their food, I sat down next to a woman who wasn’t much older than me with her young daughter. This mother asked me if we were doing this for school or if we were just nice people who wanted to help others. I responded by telling her that each one of us was volunteering during our Spring break out of the kindness of our hearts. I also told her that this was something we enjoyed doing. At that moment I was glad that I was talking to this woman and volunteering in Savannah instead of being at home not helping anyone.

I am not much of a cook but I am glad that I worked with other students to make a meal that was not just for me. This was one of the few opportunities we had to talk to people who are homeless and I was so delighted that we were given this opportunity. I would love to go back to a shelter or a soup kitchen and cook again in the near future.

Magdalene House
A Project of Union Mission

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