Over the month of March, Handson New Orleans hosted 4 college groups for their Alternative Spring Breaks. James Madison University’s SafeRides program and a group from Wagner College spent 5 days serving the community in New Orleans from March 5th to March 9th. Between the two groups they cleared three lots; built a fence, a blackboard, a trellis, and benches for the Garden on Mars in the lower ninth ward with Ms. Jeannette Bell; participated in bead sorting with ARC and food sorting with Second Harvest Food Bank; built and painted planter stands and a shed for Ms. Gloria’s Garden in Treme; and more.
Of their experience Richard Carey, leader of JMU's Alternative Break group, said, “These are the weeks that nobody forgets. My participants could not stop talking about their experience in New Orleans and loved every moment, from serving the community to engaging with its community members.”
Later, we hosted a group from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and a group from Harford Community College. UWM spent three days with us – one day at the Garden on Mars beans and greens and two days painting the fitness center at Einstein Charter School in New Orleans East. Meanwhile, Harford Community College volunteered for five days. They spent organizing furniture donations at the Donation Distribution Center in Independence, Louisiana, which is run by Catholic Charities. The next two days were spent doing a home build with the United Saints Recovery Project. Then, they went to Einstein Charter School to finish up the fitness center. Finally, they spent their last day planting flowers in front of the United Way building to beautify the neighborhood.