INTO USF students volunteer, fight hunger at Metropolitan Ministries

Six INTO USF students spent Saturday, February 25, at Metropolitan Ministries, a non-profit organization serving poor and homeless families in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Polk counties.

Metropolitan Ministries prepare nearly 2,500 meals per day, and the INTO USF students–originally from China, India, Thailand and Saudi Arabia–helped the organization serve meals to the hungry and keep the kitchen and dining area clean.

"I enjoyed the volunteering trip, since I felt great helping others, especially when it comes to kids. I also learned to cook and made some wonderful friends," said Ming Li, a Graduate Pathway student studying Business Administration.

Every semester, INTO USF organizes opportunities for students to engage with the local community through community service. Additionally, INTO USF offers transportation to these engagements to ensure all students have the opportunity to participate.

In previous years, INTO USF students have volunteered for a variety of nonprofit institutions, including Feeding America and Trinity Café.

Ivanova Velasco, INTO USF's Student Engagement Coordinator, who is responsible for arranging these visits, said "Volunteering trips are a rewarding experience that help us make an impact in the life of those who are less fortunate. For me, it is especially gratifying when I receive messages from students who have participated in the trips commenting about their positive experience."

Volunteering is a transformative and mind-opening experience that exposes students to other cultures, languages and ways of life. By attending these visits, students get to practice their English skills, add volunteer experience to their resume and most importantly, grow a stronger a sense of generosity and reciprocity.