by Sam Freedman
This special studies week, 21 people helped the communities of Spartanburg and Seneca, SC in various beneficial ways. On Monday, we prepared and departed Spartanburg for the MacMullan family lake house on Lake Keowee. There, we settled in and prepared for our first service to the community. That afternoon, we visited Helping Hands Children Shelter to play with the children there. We played basketball, swung on the swings and were running around the whole playground. It was a blast. It was fun to see the children play basketball with our state championship team members. After that, we retired back home at the lake house and rested for another great day of service. On Tuesday, we visited Keowee place which is a retirement home. We talked with the residents, played trivia with them, and ran the store for them where they could buy items such as hats. After that we had plenty of free time, so we decided to visit Sweet Treats arcade to play some laser tag and eat some ice cream. On Wednesday, we visited the Golden Corner Food Pantry. This place is responsible for meals for over 1000 people in Seneca. To help lighten their workload, we moved pallets of food, unloaded trucks, and put canned foods into the appropriate containers for distribution later. On Thursday, we were split up into two groups. One group visited a free medical clinic called St. Luke’s, where we laid down mulch around the building to make it look nice. In the afternoon, that group helped out a local thrift shop, Mary’s Place, and that group helped at a local food pantry, Total Ministries. At Mary’s Place, we hung and sorted clothing. At Total Ministries, we sorted cans of food and other necessities. On Friday, we met a man named Newt Hardie. He is an activist for the removal of invasive species in the Upstate for the Trees Coalition. We spent Friday pulling privet at Glendale Shoals. We were divided into three groups in order to cover more ground and compete to see which group could remove the most privet plants. It was a fun day of competition and helping the local community. Overall, the community service trip consisted of helping others, hard work, and many great memories.