Building Community and Fellowship at Place of Grace Food Pantry
Alicia Camuy ’22 and Peyton Orloff ’22 have had quite the busy summer. They’ve both finished their first year as Neuroscience majors at Trinity and this summer has been full of a lot of hard work too– they’re in the Summer Research Program on campus and have been attending workshops, events, and service opportunities both on campus and in the community.
This week, we visited Peyton and Alicia at the Place of Grace Food Pantry at Grace Episcopal Church on New Park Avenue where they volunteer their time every Thursday. Place of Grace provides grocery items every week to parts of Parkville, the West End, and Frog Hollow and they’ve held a partnership with Trinity College’s Office of Community Service & Civic Engagement for about 8 years. Students spend time during the semester volunteering at the food pantry and taking on larger projects like cleaning, sanding, and painting during the JELLO Week of Service in January or Do-It Day at the start of the Fall semester.
Peyton said she did a lot of volunteering in high school and wanted to continue that while at Trinity. She met Maddie Farrar’ 19 and the JELLO Community Service Organization at the Fall Involvement Fair, and has been involved at Place of Grace ever since. In addition to the Summer Research Program and volunteering at Place of Grace, she also spends 10 hours a week volunteering at Hartford Hospital. So, we think the “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good” t-shirt she’s wearing might not be entirely accurate…
During the semester on Wednesdays the students come and join other volunteers (for a good workout) where they move all the food upstairs to prepare it for distribution. They said Thursdays is the day where they get to talk with people and meet people from all different walks of life. Alicia said it’s fun to interact with different personalities, regulars, and newcomers. It makes her grateful for what she has and also reminds her that it’s the little things in life, seeing different perspectives, and getting out and meeting new people that really bring happiness.
“For me it’s deeper than volunteering. I’ve always been a person who’s involved in the community and I never want to be a person who feels above everyone else. I really enjoy getting off campus in my free time for volunteering but even just to get out. I love going to Park Street and going to Aqui Me Quedo which is so delicious. I’m not afraid to take the buses and I’m trying to get my friends and other students to get off campus because it’s so easy to be trapped in that bubble. But we have so many resources to give the community and the community has so many resources and experiences to give us and I think that Peyton and I realize that which is a reason why we come volunteer. Also, they needed a translator and I speak Spanish.” – Alicia Camuy ’22
Place of Grace was founded in the mid-90s and Director Kathie Rovetti (pictured above) has been involved for 13 years. She says they provide food to about 130-160 families a week as well as things like school supplies in August, gifts around the holidays, and toys for kids’ birthdays. Josie, who has volunteered at Place of Grace for 10 years, says they have really built a sense of community that lends itself to fellowship and building deeper community partnerships that focus on taking care of people.
Thank you to our community partners at Place of Grace– they’ve been providing this service since the mid 1990s and we look forward to continuing this partnership.