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SAS Students Learn by Lending a Hand in Naples, Italy



Jul 10, 2012

Education, Service

SAS Students Learn by Lending a Hand in Naples, Italy

Professor Joel Savishinsky prepares his class, Anthropology: Family, Community and Utopia, for their visit to a church community center in Naples, Italy. After reading The Broken Fountain by Thomas Belmonte, a book on poverty in Naples’s poorest sections of town, the class will go see those in need as they visit a community center run in part by a local church.

Spending the day looking into the eyes of the poor in Naples can change someone forever… Students went from reading about poverty to working in a center that addresses poverty.  In short, the field lab was a chance for the students to be participants, observers, and contributors by preparing and serving meals at a community center designed to address some of the poorest people in Naples.

Anthropology Professor Joel Savishinsky from Ithica Collage

Elizabeth Mueller from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, helps to prepare lunch for the church’s patrons. Up to 250 people are served everyday at this location where all of the food is donated from local businesses.

This was the most overwhelming thing I have ever been though in my entire life… Having the chance to spend a few hours with the dedicated staff was a turning point for me. I can go back home and make a difference and help out the people in need in my town of Manhattan, Kansas… This field lab has broken down the barrier between just visiting a country and truly experiencing it.

Carson O’Connor, Kansas State University

People start to line up outside the church’s kitchen for the first seating of lunch. The maximum capacity is 68 at one time, which means that many days the church must turn people away.

A lot of people didn’t want to look at you as you served them, but if you smiled at them they would generally smile back . Some had a sad look and a sense of shame on their faces for having to depend on others for food.

Jami McMillen from Colorado State University

Students spend hours serving lunch to three different shifts. They felt a sense of pride and accomplishment after helping to serve those in need.

This was like nothing else I had experienced before, so I called my mom, and was on the brink of tears. Some people are so appreciative of what food you give them and others were fighting and it wasn’t good enough for them… This class made me appreciate my life so much more.

Cara Puzzio from Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

Student Jessica Zeni from Michigan State University and Sister Teresa clean up after lunch and before the doors are open again for another meal.

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