SARASOTA -- University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee, students got a lesson in community service by volunteering at a food bank and a shelter.
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The group met at the campus, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, about 9 a.m. Saturday to catch rides to Family Promise Sarasota and the Sarasota-based All Faiths Food Bank as part of "Service Saturday."
"This is our chance to give back to the community," Campus Activities Board President Katerina Pluhacek said of the four-hour volunteer program. "We love our community. It was definitely worth it."
Students stocked shelves and filled boxes at the food bank while at Family Promise another 10 rolled up their sleeves to dust, sweep and scrub the shelter, which houses up to three families at a time for 90 days each.
"We did a lot of deep cleaning, moving furniture and getting into corners," Pluhacek said. "We cleaned the whole house."
The group also made time to organize a 16-passenger bus used by Family Promise and a storage shed crammed with donations.
USFSM Regional Chancellor Dr. Sandra Stone stopped by to lend a hand, saying she was only too happy to oblige.
Service Saturday launched last month with about 20 students but has since risen to 33 students who volunteer at shelters, food banks and other charitable organizations the third Saturday of the month.
"Service Saturday is one the first major outreach initiatives that we've undertaken this year," said Kati Hinds, coordinator of Student Organizations & Leadership. "I think people see that we have the resources to help the community and the students see this as an opportunity to give back. I'm just really proud of our student involvement in this."