After a tedious first half to the semester, spring break is always a welcome time to catch up on rest, take a trip with friends, take a stab at homework, or even serve others. Nineteen Mines InterVarsity Christian Fellowship students spent the first half of their Spring Break reaching out to the Denver community. The InterVarsity chapter has made “Spring Break Trip” an urban missions trip into the heart of Denver, a memorable tradition for seven years.
“I love the Spring Break trip that IV puts on because I think it inspires college students to volunteer,” said Krista Pekarek, student and intern for InterVarsity at Mines. “It helps them to realize that they don’t have to wait until they graduate to do awesome things to help the community.”
Throughout the four days of the trip, the students planned to volunteer with Hospice of St. John, Extreme Community Makeover, Food Bank of the Rockies, and Ronald McDonald House.
The InterVarsity volunteers arrived in Denver on Friday, and soon they were informed that they would not work at Hospice of St. John on Saturday due to snow. The students then thought of ways to serve the needs in the community. “You don’t have to go somewhere else to help. We shoveled the sidewalks and driveways of people in the neighborhood of where we were staying,” said Pekarek. They also baked cookies and handed them out to the homes where they shoveled.
In recalling the most impactful moments of the trip, sophomore Andrew Towe said, “I remember when I took cookies up to this door; a mid-fifties gentleman answered the door. I explained to him what we were doing and gave him the plate of cookies I had with me. His only response was asking if he could pay us. When I politely refused, he looked at me, said ‘Thanks,’ and shook my hand. He was genuinely grateful for what we had done.”
The students spent Sunday with Extreme Community Makeover (ECM) going door-to-door taking surveys on ECM’s past work. ECM works with volunteer groups that serve at-risk communities in Denver by doing yard work, removing graffiti tags, and more.
InterVarsity split their time Monday and Tuesday between cooking and serving breakfast at Ronald McDonald House and assembling supplementary boxes for Food Bank of the Rockies. The boxes help families and the elderly who are below the poverty line and are filled with supplementary items to a family’s meals. The students built and packed up the boxes of food, forming an assembly line going at a rate of 33 boxes per person for two and a half hours.
“The most satisfying part of the whole trip was finishing 800 food boxes at the food bank, knowing that we were not only helping families but that also we doubled the output of the food bank for the week,” said Pekarek.
Towe continued, “I remember thinking that I was tired during the whole experience, but I still wanted to work, partly because of the funny banter that was going on between those on my end of the line and also because it felt right to be working with my hands to the work of the kingdom.”
Although the four days of the trip were intense and tiring at times, not all of the trip was spent working or learning. The students still managed to find time to have fun together. “The trip was exhausting but it was a lot of fun,” said Pekarek. “You get a lot closer to the people you’re working with, and you learn a lot about them in that short time.”
Added Towe, “I remember having many deep conversations, some that took a comedic and slapstick tangent that will stay with me for a while. I look forward to next year and serving again.”