A group of three Jefferson Award students from Dover High School dropped off a food donation at The Shepherd Place, a 30-day emergency shelter for women and children in Dover, on Friday in honor of Valentine’s Day.
The Jefferson Award is a service learning program, and the students from the Capital School District’s mentoring program put together mason jars filled with dried ingredients that could be mixed with water to create soup. They called the gifts “Love in a Jar.”
The Shepherd Place is equipped with a communal kitchen that all residents have access to during certain hours so the soup was left in the kitchen for residents to use when they see fit.
Having the community give back means a lot, said Denise Gomez, shelter manager of The Shepherd Place.
“This is an example of how great our community is,” Gomez said. “They called and determined what our need was. We are a non-profit so we rely heavily on food donations, so we really appreciate it.”
It was also nice for residents to have someone reach out in honor of Valentine’s Day, Gomez said.
“I know a lot of our residents aren’t feeling so loved today,” she said. “So it’s nice to have a small token of love and appreciation.”
That idea of showing love on Valentine’s Day was one of the aspects that got Jefferson Award student Elizabeth Brookins involved in the project.
“Everyone needs to feel loved on Valentine’s Day,” Brookins said. “If I was in this situation I would want people to help out and share their love.”
The ingredients for the jars were organized and separated by Jefferson Award students. Pairs of mentors and mentees in the Connecting Generations program in the Capital District, which is run by AmeriCorps, put the ingredients into the jars.
The idea of distributing the jars was one that the students came up with, said Terisha Collins, site director for Communities and Schools at Dover High School.
“I think students need to learn early on what service means to them and find their own way,” Collins said.