Food pantries, nursing homes, and pregnancy centers. These are just a few of the places found in many local communities that rely on the help of volunteers to run effectively, bringing aid to some of the most disadvantaged in our society — whether monetarily, emotionally, or spiritually. Helping at these places is a work of mercy, and junior Mark Chamandy and numerous other students took it upon themselves to volunteer at them during Christendom’s annual Day of Service, putting their faith and education into action.

Christendom is host to many clubs and student organizations whose prime focus is volunteering in the community, including the Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry club, the Shield of Roses pro-life group, and others. Many of these clubs coalesced for Christendom’s annual “Day of Service,” which Chamandy helped coordinate this year with senior Mary Margaret Heisler. During the day, students took part in six different volunteer opportunities, including going to a local nursing home, an experience that Chamandy found life-changing.

Students volunteered by cleaning Dr. Carroll’s gravesite (left), assisting at a local food pantry (middle), by repairing a shrine to Jesus (right), and more.

“One thing I noticed immediately when the day began is how grateful the people were whom we served,” says Chamandy. “When we arrived at the nursing home, we were immediately greeted and thanked by those working at the nursing home for coming. They told us that it is rare to see young people like us there and that we’re welcome to do this more if we wanted.”

Elsewhere in Front Royal, students also volunteered at the local food pantry, restocking food items and assisting people as they came in for food. At the Front Royal Pregnancy Center, students assisted the staff with tasks throughout the day, including helping mothers. Back on campus, students took on tasks such as cleaning the trails that lead down to the Shenandoah River, repairing a shrine to Jesus, and cleaning the gravesite of college founder Dr. Warren Carroll.

All of these students lead busy lives in addition to their studies. In Chamandy’s case, he serves on the Student Activities Council and as president of Christendom’s Political Action League, which welcomes local and state politicians to campus for lectures and networking opportunities. Despite everything on his plate, Chamandy made the time to volunteer, helping others and the rest of the Front Royal community to thrive in the process.

Junior Mark Chamandy was one of the coordinators for the Day of Service.

While students work hard every day at Christendom, students like Chamandy went above and beyond the call of duty and sacrificed their time to volunteer with local organizations and to help those in need.

“At the end of the day, I think these volunteer opportunities serve the students just as well, if not more than, the people they are serving,” says director of student activities Marilyn Charba, who oversees each of the volunteer organizations on campus. “When it comes down to it, I think that giving back and helping your neighbor is the best way to get outside of yourself and gain some perspective.”

Throughout a week during the academic year, Christendom students can be found organizing food pantries, praying outside abortion clinics, and simply spending time with the abandoned. They sacrifice their time for the betterment of others, truly living up to the college’s mission of “restoring all things in Christ.”

Sarah Ziegler (’19) was a contributing author for this story.

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