More than 200 students, faculty and staff took part in Caldwell University’s annual day of community service, Caldwell Day, on Sept. 30.
They packaged up food at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, visited homebound St. Aloysius parishioners, played games and spent time with the elderly at Marian Manor, organized clothing for the homeless in New York City, helped with gardening and clean-up at Pollinator Plant Garden and Grover Cleveland Park in Caldwell, cleaned and organized supplies at schools in Essex County and much more.
Amanda Surujnauth, a senior, was with a team that packaged 3,600 bags of pasta for 1,800 families at the FoodBank.
“While doing it was a lot of hard work, you come to this realization that you’re helping feed so many people,” said Surujnauth. “I am really glad to be a part of this.”
Jordann Perez, a junior, collected donations at Foodtown for the Caldwell Food Pantry through the Kiwanis Club of Caldwell-West Caldwell.
“It’s a good experience to get out there and get the community to help out each other,” said Perez.
Bilan Biju, a sophomore, collected at ShopRite in West Caldwell.
“I am so glad that we all have made a difference today by putting a smile on the faces of those in need,” said Biju.
Tulaja Shrestha, a senior, volunteered at the Caldwell Public Library organizing and helping seniors on the computer.
“It was very interesting to see them so keen to learn something new,” said Shrestha. “We got to learn more about their lives and shared experiences, which felt wonderful.”
President Nancy Blattner brought the idea of Caldwell Day to campus when she began at Caldwell in 2009. Each year classes are cancelled and the campus community is encouraged to volunteer, which ties in with the Catholic Dominican University’s pillar of service.
“The Caldwell University family put words into action by giving expression of its Catholic Dominican mission to educate the whole being through intellectual, spiritual and aesthetic growth opportunities rooted in Gospel teachings,” said Sister Kathleen Tuite, vice president of student life. “Through the selfless service of the students, staff, and faculty God’s creation was reverenced, and the lives of countless individuals, many of whom will never be known, were touched.”
Other volunteer sites included The Caldwell Fire Department, Our Lady Help of Christians in East Orange, The Community Church of Cedar Grove, Academy 360 Lower School in Verona, the Borough of Essex Fells, Our Lady of Czestochowa School in Jersey City, Calvary Lutheran Church in Verona, and Good Shepherd Academy in Nutley.