Along with nine classmates and three faculty members, I spent my spring break in Cincinnati as part of Canisius' Companions service immersion program. The purpose of going to Cincinnati was to witness the prevalence of poverty in its many forms and the actions needed to be taken in order to promote justice.
Prior to leaving for the seven hour bus ride, I was nervous about the living situation, but more excited to meet those who I would be serving, and to grow closer with some of my classmates who I had little interaction with in the past. I had heard stories about the perspectives gained through shared lunches at the soup kitchen and was eager to experience it myself.
Upon arrival, we spent the majority of our time serving the local community by working at Our Daily Bread—a soup kitchen which serves breakfast and lunch, which also acts as a community center. We arrived before breakfast every day to prepare the first meal, served throughout the day until after lunch, and finished the day by cleaning the kitchen and prepping for the next day's dish. During my lunch break, I had the opportunity to speak to those who I'd been serving, and listen to the stories, views, and advice that they had to share. By eating the same food, some boundaries had been broken and the conversation became much more fruitful on both sides.
One of the best conversations I had during lunch was with a man whom I had seen in a Cincinnati park prior to coming to Our Daily Bread. He explained his role as an activist, and how he spends his time at the library making buttons and signs.
After returning from our daily service at the soup kitchen, our group had reflections in which we went around a circle recalling our greatest challenges and successes from the day's work. This not only showed us what we needed to work on, but created a sense of unity among the group towards our common goal. In the end, the trip to Cincinnati served as a reminder of our role in the community, giving us a glimpse into the lives of others who we may never have encountered otherwise and showing us our potential influence in bringing about justice.
Owen Huber '20 is pictured above on the left, with Alex Setteducati '20 on the right.