Last semester, my friend had recommended me to sign up for the Student Volunteer Council. I had not volunteered for a long time, so I decided to put my name on the email list. A couple of weeks later, they had sent out an email filled with volunteering opportunities coming up in the next few weeks. A listing saying “First Reformed Church Service Day” had caught my eye. I have never been to this church before, or even heard of it, but I figured I’d give it a try. So I put my name on the volunteering list.
It’s Saturday morning. The leaders of the club said we will be at the church from 11:30 am to 3 pm. So I started off my day getting breakfast from the dining hall and then waiting for the weekend bus. I decided to wear something comfortable – pants and sneakers – since they said we would be doing a lot of arduous activities. I did not know what I was getting myself into that day, so I made sure to be prepared.
After getting lost quite a bit, I finally made it!
The church is located deep in New Brunswick, close to the George Street area. Founded in the 1800s, it has a lot of history associated with it, especially in relation to Rutgers. It was built around the time Rutgers was known as “Queens College” – the church’s existence actually motivated the construction of Queens College since the Dutch wanted a location to be educated.
Once we all arrived at the same spot, the first thing we had to do was clear the library. We did so by putting the books on the shelves into cardboard boxes. Since this was the first place we met up and there was a lot of construction going on in different areas of the church, throughout the day this ended up being the room where we would meet up once we all finished our tasks or just to discuss what we would be doing next.
Once we were done, we had to bring all of the boxes upstairs into an office just to get them out of the way. Here is a majority of the volunteer group.
As a treat, the organizers of the church decided to make us cookies. It was a combination of oatmeal with chocolate chips. It was very delicious, and was finished fast.
Moving the podiums was possibly the hardest thing we had to do. The podiums were very heavy, and we had to make sure we did not drop it so it would not dent. As a group we decided that only the guys should move them.
During our mini breaks, we had a chance to look at places that most people never really see. This was one of the places – the organ chamber. The pastor of the church told us to move chairs into this room, so got the chance to see inside of it. Everyone in our group found this cool, since this is an area that most people aren’t allowed to go to.
We also got a chance to see the actual organ itself. Unfortunately it was off, so we did not have a chance to try it out.
By 2:30, we were already done. The whole place was almost cleared out. Afterwards, we all gathered and sat down in a room, and had a brief reflection. We all agreed that we put a lot of team work into the day, and that everything required hard work. Though, we all had a good time. Since I had not volunteered in such a long time, I felt great knowing that I had helped the community in some way.