Students spend spring break volunteering in Bay St. Louis
Around this time every year, college lets out for spring break. While some may vacation, others volunteer at the Starfish Café in Bay St. Louis, planting new produce and renovating their facility as part of the alternative spring break.
Some college students look forward to hitting the beach or lake for spring break, but these students are lending a helping hand to Starfish Café in Bay St. Louis. Pneuma Winds of Hope Executive Director Di Fillhart recently learned the nonprofit restaurant is suffering termite damage in their floors, a perfect opportunity to put the alternative spring breakers to work. Starfish Café Chef Zachary Fillhart said, “So far, overall, we’ve done everything from painting our entire building inside and out, deep cleaning and now we’re just getting into a little bit more deeper stuff.”
So far they were able to raise over $1,500 for flooring materials and even had some local businesses donate tables and help with repairs. Twenty-six college students from all over the US are getting their hands dirty, growing new crops to make the meals sold at the café. Volunteers say it feels good to give back to the community. University of Texas at Arlington student Tanya Garcia said, “To see that I’m helping someone to stand up on their feet, seeing people feel better, have things that at first they maybe didn’t. It’s really just amazing. There’s not many words that I can say to describe it.”
University of Texas at Arlington student Collin Warwick said, “We get so much from our community already. It’s good to give back and help those who aren’t as fortunate as us sometimes.”
The Starfish Café program helps students to better their life skills, anything from gardening and building to working on becoming a better person and even learn some job skills. Starfish Café student Gabriel Henry said, “It’s been really important because it’s teaching me how I can get a job, how to work, my communication skills, my job skills, how to use a knife, how to cook food.”
The café plans to reopen on March 21st.