The Florida Chapter of Alpha Zeta hosted the National Service Project for the second time. 10 brothers came from Florida and across the country to help in the Orlando area. The trip was an opportunity for members to work hard and make a difference in the lives of people we encountered or helped. The 10 members who came to Orlando worked extremely hard and made a huge difference in the lives of disadvantaged people in the Central Florida area!
The project was four days long that started with a video on children in agriculture from the Farmworkers Association and a soup line experience for dinner by Society of St. Andrew leading us into discussions on what we thought about it and what we were surprised about. The activities that came in the first night allowed the members to immerse themselves in the situations we would encounter over the next few days and bring light to the different issues that many people face. Over the next few days, members gleaned oranges and grapefruit that were in turn donated to local food banks, school programs, and shelters. Supplies were priced and sorted at the local Harvest Time International for families and people in need to stop in to buy at discounted prices. Members even got the opportunity to work along side workers at the GreenMasters Nursery in Apopka. A variety of jobs are completed on a daily basis there and we had the chance to help with these tasks and see what it was like to be in their shoes even if it was only for a few hours. On the last day members made 150 sandwiches and packed them in with an orange (we gleaned ourselves), a bag of chips, and a bottle of water. The bagged lunches were then passed out to the people who come to the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida. Many AZ members never realized how many people were homeless or disadvantaged in their own community, and it made many members more aware of how fortunate they are to be able to help others with this project.
With all the work members did there was also time for some fun. The members piled in the van and headed to the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens for their "Snooze at the Zoo” program where members got an up close and contact presentation on some of Florida’s nocturnal wildlife followed by a flashlight tour of the other nocturnal species in the zoo. The next morning we got a quick tour of the rest of the zoo before it opened then headed out for our other activities. The group also got to relax with a quiet night in watching a movie and visiting the Live Nativity Scene next door the house we stayed in and being like most people involved in agriculture, going crazy over being able to visit and pet the goats and donkey that were in the show.
4 chapters participated in this activity in order to make an impact in their own lives and those of the less fortunate. With the help of these chapters across the country, the project was successful in feeding multiple families in the Orlando area. This project took about a year and a half to plan by Claire Page who headed the National Service Project. She used the base of what was planned last year and thought of a few new ideas carefully planning housing, transportation, food like a dinner graciously donated by Timpanos and bagels donated by Einstein Bros. Bagel, gleaning projects, and other organizations to work with including our biggest help Barbara and Amanda from Society of St. Andrew as well as Jeannie from Farmworkers Association. The project was well organized and very successful in impacting the local needy community and the lives of AZ members.