Lutheran Community Services
Lucy Scanlon has been busy since graduating from Muhlenberg College in 2016 with a Bachelors in Neuroscience. She spent a year volunteering through Lutheran Volunteer Corps in Wilmington, Delaware, from August 2016 until the end of July 2017.
Lucy joined a group household of other Lutheran Volunteer Corps participants. She volunteered at Lutheran Community Services (LCS), a non-profit organization serving low-income families in Wilmington with emergency food, housing, and other services. Lucy worked providing assistance with housing as well as in the food assistance program. With the housing program, Lucy would “Help people pay their rent for a month due to things out of their control like getting sick, hours at work dropped, car failure, medical bills, or changing jobs…”. Lucy noted, “Most people did not have emergency funds for these types of life events.”
Lucy enjoyed working with the food assistance assignments which included various pantries that provided food to people in need. The Quaker schools in the area would do food drives to assist in stocking the food pantries. This was just one of a variety of sources for the food pantries. Lucy noted, “it was usually best to donate money [for the food pantries] because it was more efficient, and it was more likely that we would know what people would want.” For instance, the pantry would receive Gefilte Fish from the community but it might be unfamiliar to the pantry users. Lucy noted that “around Passover, a lot of Kosher food was donated.”
Lucy said she loved her job. She enjoyed the chance to work in a non-profit, to “experience what it was like but not commit myself for the rest of my life… see if it’s something I like.” She added that the volunteer experience was “great for getting used to going to a job, paying rent on time, getting used to being an adult, and being independent.”
Lucy lived with four other people who were also in the Lutheran Volunteer Corps program. There were expected challenges with this situation including, “clash of personalities, trying to cook meals together with different dietary needs, etc.” Besides the volunteer work assignments, there were opportunities to participate in “community events, cultural festivals, and getting involved with activities happening in Wilmington.” Lucy learned a lot about herself and also some about city planning: “I learned that I don’t like living in a city, at least not right in the middle of the city. I lived by a highway that cuts Wilmington in half. The design isolates chunks of the city.”
Lucy noted that her overall experience was a good one, “I 110% recommend this to others.” She encourages others to participate in service years through agencies like AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, Quaker Voluntary Services, Lutheran Volunteer Corps, etc. If the volunteer agencies are government funded, one can get a write-off on student loans.
Next steps for Lucy might include graduate school. Lucy is thinking about going to graduate school for a degree in Public Health. She noted, “One of my huge interests is spread of disease and things that are environmentally caused and disproportionally affect one socioeconomic class over another…what factors are involved. I love looking at statistics of this stuff.” For the time being Lucy is local and we can often talk with her at meeting to learn more about this interesting year she had.