During spring break, University of Louisville nursing students John Black and Glena Amante spent a morning loading canned vegetables into cardboard boxes bound for shelters, schools and food pantries that support low-income residents.
The two students volunteered at Dare to Care Food Bank as part of the School of Nursing’s annual spring break community service activities. The initiative connects students with service learning opportunities in the Louisville community.
Black said volunteering at the food bank, which distributes 24 million pounds of food in Louisville annually, supports the mission of creating a healthier community.
Dare to Care has several programs that serve children, including Backpack Buddy, which sends low-income students home with a backpack full of nutritious food for the weekend, when free and reduced-price school breakfasts and lunches are not available.
“If we can prevent children from having health problems by helping provide them with access to proper nutrition, I think that makes our job easier in the long run as health care providers,” said Black, a former sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Other UofL nursing students spent the week volunteering at the UofL Department of Medicine Global Health Initiative vaccine clinic at Kentucky Refugee Ministries, and serving food to those in need at the Franciscan Kitchen.
“These service opportunities support the School of Nursing’s mission of community engagement and meeting the evolving health care needs of society,” said Cynethia Bethel-Jaiteh, DNP, APRN, instructor at the School of Nursing.
Amante, the other nursing student who volunteered at Dare to Care, had just returned from a quick getaway in Red River Gorge and wanted to help.
“Nursing isn’t just about working in a hospital,” Amante said. “This is part of the bigger picture in making our community a better, healthier place.”