By Lydia Szyjka
Rooted in the IHM charism, the commitment to serving the community has long been an integral facet of an Immaculata education and holds profound significance. From participating decades ago in the Into the Streets volunteer program dedicated to cleaning up highways to venturing to different cities to assist Habitat for Humanity in building homes, the Immaculata community consistently rises to the occasion, extending a helping hand to those in need.
Closer to home, within the campus perimeter, our students, faculty and staff strive to ensure the well-being of every member of the Immaculata community. Listed below is a brief overview of some of the impactful service initiatives Immaculata students have recently undertaken. The initiatives reflect the unwavering commitment to service that permeates every corner of our campus.
IU Food Garden Donates More than Half a Ton of Food. Throughout the summer months, members of campus ministry engaged in a gardening project resulting in a remarkable donation of 1,385.5 pounds of produce to the West Chester Food Cupboard. From spring planting to fall harvest, students, faculty and IHM Sisters dedicated their time to cultivating the garden, addressing local food needs through a record-setting contribution.
Christmas Drive Supported Those in Need. Embodying the true spirit of the holiday season, students, faculty, staff and alumni generously donated items to support the Mother of Mercy House in Kensington, Philadelphia, resulting in 10 overflowing boxes of gifts and donations.
Students Build Relationships at Camilla Hall. Fostering connections with retired IHM Sisters, students engage in various activities, including trivia, games, crafts and assisting with daily tasks. During the holidays, students dressed up for trick-or-treating and caroling, creating cherished moments for both students and Sisters.
Elementary Students Benefit from IU Mentors. Immaculata students volunteer at Saints Philip & James School to offer reading support, homework assistance and tutoring to students from pre-K to 5th grade during the after-care program.
Students Participate in Annual Service Trips. Students volunteer over winter and spring breaks to work building homes with Habitat for Humanityin Winston-Salem, North Carolina, among other locales. These service trips provide students with transformative experiences as they engage in communal prayer, shared meals and reflective discussions.
Immaculata Community Honored MLK with Day of Service. On Jan. 20, Immaculata students and staff dedicated their time to cleaning St. Laurence School in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, honoring the legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
IU Food Cupboard Supports Students. Immaculata’s commitment to addressing students’ food insecurity led to the establishment in 2018 of a food cupboard, which is accessible 24/7. This past spring, 64 students benefited from this resource, made possible through donations from the entire campus community.
No-Shave November Fundraiser Focused on Men’s Health. Faculty, staff and students participated in a successful month-long fundraiser, exceeding the $1,000 goal and raising awareness for men’s health issues. Zach Maiorano ’27 led fundraising efforts. Andrew Pisano ’21, owner of Andrew Cuts Barber Shop, gave Maiorano a free haircut as a thank-you.
Nursing Students Administered Flu Vaccines. Nursing seniors played a pivotal role in promoting preventative health care by administering flu vaccines to about 150 individuals at flu shot clinics held at West Chester East and Great Valley high schools.
Essential Baby Supplies Donated in Campus Diaper Drive. The Macs Respect Life campus club hosted a “No Child Wet Behind Diaper Drive,” collecting about 10 boxes of diapers and essential baby supplies for the Genesis Women’s Clinic in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.
Students Learned About the Share Food Program. Students volunteered at the Share Food Program in Philadelphia, contributing to packing and distributing food boxes to older adults, while also gaining insights into food insecurity and nutrition.
Harvesting at Martha’s Community Farm. Students volunteered at Martha’s Community Farm in Audubon, Pennsylvania to assist with harvesting sweet potatoes, peppers and tomatoes that were donated to the food pantry Martha’s Choice Marketplace. The experience fostered discussions on Catholic social teaching’s “options for the poor and vulnerable.”
Students Organized a Bingo Event at Divine Providence Village. Students organized a bingo event for the residents of Divine Providence Village, a home for ladies with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
Veterans Honored with Handcrafted Cards. Students crafted heartfelt cards expressing appreciation for veterans at the Coatesville Veterans Hospital and the Delaware Veterans organization.
First-Year Students Learned the Value of Serving the Community. On the Saturday before the fall semester begins, all new students volunteer their time at various nonprofit organizations across the region. This past fall, students worked at two state parks, a retreat site, a historic mill, an inner-city Catholic school, a food share program, an arboretum, Camilla Hall and on campus with the IU sustainability group.