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Photo caption: Maria Fanning, Director of Civic Engagement and students Bruce Wiley, Nyasia Smith, and Ashley Wilson sew sleeping bags which will be donated to a Washington, D.C. homeless shelter.

Spring break. More than a trip to the beach.

A group of Keystone College students realize that spring break can mean more than just a trip to the beach.

For the eighth consecutive year, members of the Keystone’s Center for Civic Engagement will travel to Washington, D.C. March 11-14 to spend their mid-semester break working at an inner-city homeless shelter and soup kitchen.

Giving back.

The seven-member Keystone group will team up with college students around the nation to prepare over 5,000 meals at the DC Central Kitchen and then serve them to guests at the D.C. Community for Creative Non-Violence, one of the nation’s largest homeless shelters. The Keystone contingent has received generous amounts of food for donation from Sodexo, the company which provides dining services at the college.

In addition to bringing meals, the students will also bring material to sew sleeping bags which will be donated to the homeless community at the shelter.

“Each year, this ‘alternative spring break,’ as we call it, serves as a meaningful reminder that our students can really make a difference in the lives of people in need. It’s a wonderful way to spend our time away from campus,” said Maria Fanning, director of the college’s Center for Civic Engagement.

“It makes me feel good when I have the chance to make a positive impact on someone’s life.” ~ Kelly Gordon 

Some Keystone students are making their first trip as part of the annual service trip while others, such as junior Kelly Gordon, Hallstead, Pa., have made the journey in previous years.

“This is my third year going to Washington, D.C., and I’m really looking forward to it,” Kelly said. “I know that people at the homeless shelter are going through a really tough time and providing food and sleeping bags might really help them out. It makes me feel good when I have the chance to make a positive impact on someone’s life.”

Keystone College has a proud history of helping others. Each year, Keystone students provide about 26,000 hours of service to others in the local community or in places like Washington, D.C. and Haiti. The college has received the President’s Award for Community Service for five consecutive years.