Today was our last day of volunteering before we head home in the morning. This experience has been an amazing one for all of us and we look forward to bringing our experience back to Lourdes.

We began our day, as we always do, with a reflection planned by Marci (our hostess for the week). For our reflection we split into two groups and we were given a list of people who needed a bed in a homeless shelter and there were only 12 empty beds that we had to fill.

This activity was extremely difficult. How does one choose between a young woman who is pregnant, an elderly woman who is suffering from dementia or someone who lost their home in a natural disaster? The task was difficult and each group struggled but came up with a conclusion.

One of our (pretend) shelters served those who were experiencing homelessness on a first-come first-serve basis. The other shelter focused on women, children and families. In the end we couldn’t house everyone, which was sad for all of us but we were able to help those we could.

Rose Garden – By Laurie Knueven
Today my group traveled to the Rose Garden mission. The other half of our group served at the mission on Tuesday. This agency was started by a small group of nuns whose original mission was to serve women who were pregnant, but when they started out, people donated a bit of everything.

Today the mission is run fully on donations and the sisters along with many volunteers distribute food throughout the day to those in need (no questions asked!). They also continue their ministry to the women and children and always give a welcome baby basket to first time mothers. Two to three days a week they have an operational clinic on site so that people can get medical care and women can take pregnancy tests. Our task today was a bit challenging. We were asked to divide boxes and boxes of White Castle hamburger buns into 4 dozen packs so that they could be handed out. Easy right?

At first the buns kept falling out and landing on the floor – picture 4 dozen sheets of buns, once you pick it up they all crumble from underneath your hands. By the end of the 20 some boxes (each with 16 dozen hamburger buns), we were experts.

 Lourdes students volunteer in Cincinnati 

We also sorted potatoes and helped pack bags of food for the people who came in. We enjoyed our time with the sisters and were impressed with their lifestyle. They live like Francis lived: they completely rely on God for their needs. They don’t go grocery shopping (unless absolutely necessary), they eat what they are given and never ask for anything. They believe God will provide. One sister told us that meals get very interesting!

The day also included sorting of clothes, dishing up desserts and making delicious Kool-Aid for the children who came with their parents. It was a great experience and we walked away with a sense of awe for how the sisters do so much for the community and continue to faithfully rely on God.

H.O.N.K. – By Tim Broud
As today started I felt like going to work with H.O.N.K (Housing Opportunities of Northern Kentucky). I figured it would be like the alternative spring break trips with Habitat for Humanity I have taken. I was wrong! H.O.N.K focuses on restoring homes and helping the working poor become homeowners. Yes, this is like Habitat but on a more grassroots level.

When we arrived at the worksite, we where looking at a house that was given to H.O.N.K by the city. When they started to replace the front door it was found that there was extensive termite damage. The foundation needed to be replaced. It surprised me to only see four men working on this project.

We where asked to go into the basement where the wall was removed, and dig up the mud that had washed back in during the rain storms that passed through last night. So Nick, Izzy, and Thomas ventured down into the basement, while Emily and I stayed up top to pull the buckets up filled with mud. As hard as these job sound, we all had fun doing it. was not long before the three in the hole where covered in mud! It was a great day to feel like a kid.

After finishing the fun in the mud we got to demolish a shed! Crowbars and sledge hammers away! This job got interesting with spiders and other creepy crawlies that where living inside the shed. Yet with great determination we finished the job. The old shed was gone. It took even more teamwork to remove the remains of this shed to the truck, but together it was gone.

Overall, this day showed me that it is not always NEW that can help, but taking something that is thought to be unwanted and turning it into something that someone else can used.

The day ended with picking up the other group and coming back to the Tau House and cleaning up for dinner. Dinner took us to downtown Cincinnati and a great pizza place, Venice on Vine. A great place that helps individuals get job experience that they would not be able to get due to unfortunate happenings in their lives.

It was some great pizza! After that we walk to Fountain Square to have some fun. Some of us learned how to Salsa Dance while some took a horse and carriage ride. After we regrouped we decide to have ice cream at Graeters: Let's just say: Amazing. 

 Lourdes students enjoy ice cream after work 

Laurie and I did the last reflection for the week, asking each team member to tell us what they felt about this experience. This group of young people made me feel that there is hope for the future, understanding that it will take people to help people.