I wanted to wait until Fontbonne Day 2017 was over to write this post. Since I’m a freshman, I had never participated in Fontbonne Day before, but I had heard about it from upperclassmen, my advisor, and when I was first getting to know Fontbonne a whole year ago through the application and visiting process! I’ve been involved in a variety of service/volunteering throughout my life, including the Wildwood (Missouri) Historical Society, my church’s Vacation Bible School, Queeny Park Equestrian Events cross-country judging, Rockwood School District Vehicle Day, early childhood education (“Meet the Machines” events), and more, but I hadn’t ever experienced something quite as large and collective as Fontbonne Day.
First of all, picking a location was hard! I had a lot of options and they all seemed like a perfect choice, but in reality I could only be in one place. So I decided on the Student Association for Family & Consumer Science (SAFCS) site, Urban Harvest. We actually visited two of their sites to help out, which was really cool to see some of what they do and the people they help. We started at their food roof (near the City Museum), enjoyed a tour, and all pitched in to carry “socks” (basically bags of nutrients that support the growth of plants) up a couple flights of stairs to the roof. Then we drove a short distance to Fresh Starts Community Garden, one of several they have around the St. Louis area. We weeded, turned soil over, and applied compost to several raised beds, preparing them for soon-to-come spring planting.
Basically, that’s what my Fontbonne Day was like. I can’t tell you how nice it was to be OUTSIDE all morning in beautiful sunshine and pleasant temperatures…serving others on top of it! While our work was more indirectly related to people than other sites, I loved supporting the work of Urban Harvest in such a small way. I also really enjoyed getting to know a few of my fellow students better. Taking 18 hours, commuting, and working leaves me no time for quality social interactions outside of class times, so Fontbonne Day was a refreshing opportunity in more ways than one. Our group included six dietetics students, two non-dietetics students, and a Fontbonne Communications & Marketing Department employee — small enough to get to know each other, but also a good mixture of majors/fields of interest, so that was really nice.
From the opening (that Lean on Me rendition would be hard to top!), through weeding the garden, all the way to lunch (yum) and closing, I felt very connected to everyone at Fontbonne and the people we were serving — more so than anytime before. It’s really inspiring to see professors, staff, and students alike right alongside each other…joined together in serving the dear neighbor. If you haven’t had a chance to participate in Fontbonne Day, I would highly recommend it. It’s only a few hours one day a year! You have the time, believe me! And you’ll feel so good afterwards; hopefully you’ll even want to find other places to serve before next year’s Fontbonne Day rolls around!
~AnnaOur team at Fresh Starts Community Garden