• 63°

Students spend spring break as volunteers

By Rebecca Rider

rebecca.rider@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — While some students are taking advantage of spring break to race off to the beach or the mountains, some chose to invest their time in other ways.

Instead of spending time in the sun, the past few days have found Xavier McLaughlin and Cameron Marsh, two high school students, in the food pantry at Rowan Helping Ministries. The two organize donations, fill shopping carts with orders and help patrons load groceries into their cars, reusable bags or boxes.

“I am a food person,” joked Cameron, 16.

Cameron said when he works at the food pantry, he knows he’s not just filling people’s shopping carts — he’s filling their stomachs, as well.

Cameron is a sophomore at Carson High School who’s been volunteering in the food pantry for the past two years. He started helping out alongside his grandmother in order to meet volunteer requirements for the Crosby Scholars program. Pretty soon, he found he enjoyed the work. And he likes helping people, as well.

“This is, like, a great place,” he said.

After two years, he knows the ebb and flow of the pantry — and how slow mornings can turn into fast-paced afternoons. Once he logged more than 48 volunteer hours over the course of a summer.

Sometimes he’ll count those hours toward the continuing Crosby Scholars requirements. But sometimes it’s just where he’d rather be.

“Sometimes I’ll come because I have nothing else to do besides sit at home and play video games,” he said.

Volunteering at the food pantry has become habit for Cameron during spring and summer break. But this week he was joined by a new face, Xavier McLaughlin.

Xavier, 18, is a senior at West Rowan High School who’s working on his senior project. The project, assigned to all Rowan-Salisbury seniors, requires students to write a long paper, do research and log several hours either volunteering or working with a mentor.

Students can choose a topic from one of three areas: hobbies, a career field or community service. Xavier chose community service and decided to focus on homeless shelters. He said he found Rowan Helping Ministries through a Google search and applied.

“I actually like it,” he said.

Thursday was Xavier’s second day at the food pantry. He doesn’t need many hours for the project, but he said he’d already learned a lot.

Before working with Rowan Helping Ministries, Xavier said he had no idea how many people are in need of food and clothing assistance in the county. If he’d had to guess, he would have said not many. But that, he discovered, was wrong.

Those in need of food assistance are able to come by once a month and load up a grocery cart full of items according to how many people are in their household. The amount of food in a single cart can exceed 100 pounds — all of which is weighed and accounted for.

Xavier doesn’t know if he’ll return after he completes his senior project hours, but he has enjoyed his time working with the nonprofit group, and it’s certainly been eye-opening.

“They help a lot of people here,” he said.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264. 

Comments

High School

North Rowan romps into second round of football playoffs

Nation/World

FBI had interviewed former FedEx employee who killed eight

Crime

Gastonia man sentenced for crash into restaurant that killed his daughter, daughter-in-law

Nation/World

Some call for charges after video of police shooting 13-year-old in Chicago

Business

State unemployment rate falls to 5.2% in March

Coronavirus

NASCAR approach to virus vaccine varies greatly

News

Judge rejects Cherokee challenge against new casino in Kings Mountain

Elections

Jackson tops NC Senate fundraising; Walker coffers also full

Local

Kiwanis Pankcake Festival serves thousands of flapjacks for charity

Coronavirus

Rowan remains in state’s middle, yellow tier for COVID-19 community spread

Crime

Blotter: Man faces sexual exploitation charge for images on Instagram

News

Defendant convicted in attempted murder case on the run after fleeing from trial

Business

Downtown Gateway Building to be renamed for late Paul Fisher

Coronavirus

Rowan County COVID-19 data for April 15

Local

Rep. Warren’s bill would prohibit parking in electric vehicle charging stations

Local

Historic Preservation Commission approves Integro Technologies expansion, Paint the Pavement project

Education

Faith Academy, RSS will negotiate over what goes, stays in elementary school

Crime

Teacher killed in Alamance County shootout with Mexican drug cartel

Coronavirus

Bill would give more tax breaks on COVID-19 loans

Nation/World

No response as divers knock on capsized ship’s hull

Local

Quotes of the week

Crime

Blotter: Man found on church property with litany of drugs

Crime

Man charged in connection to 2019 overdose death

Business

‘It’s our big time’: Salisbury Farmers Market reopens Saturday