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United Way welcomes UNC students for alternative spring break

May 16, 2018

By Sydney Solan

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United Way of Northeast Florida hosted students from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for Alternative Spring Break in March. UNC student leaders Thu Neang and Henry Tilgham designed the trip around Hurricane Irma disaster relief.

During their week of service, students participated in physical tasks in addition to learning how various community organizations work together to assist with long-term disaster recovery.

“In order to be the most effective volunteer, one should have the opportunity to learn about the problem at hand and how to combat it through advocacy and strategic methods,” said Neang, sophomore at UNC Chapel Hill.

In partnership with Feeding Northeast Florida, FarmShare, City Rescue Mission, HabiJax, Cooperative Baptist Church and All Saints Episcopal Church, students painted and repaired houses in Washington Heights and packaged over 2,300 pounds of food to be distributed to the community. They also had the opportunity to attend a long-term disaster recovery meeting with United Way staff members.

“Seeing passionate young adults travel hundreds of miles to help support strangers recover from Hurricane Irma was phenomenal,” said Elizabeth Lufrano, United Way community impact manager. “It gives me hope that the generations that follow us will continue to speak up and act compassionately and intentionally to meet community needs.”

Because change doesn’t happen alone, United Way provides individuals and groups with various opportunities to get involved throughout the year. For more information on how you can connect your passion to purpose, visit unitedwaynefl.org/volunteer.