When coming to Milan, I wanted to make a goal of engaging myself in my community the best I could. I was able to find a great motive for this very goal by working towards obtaining the SAI International Service Certificate. By doing so, I was able to get in touch with a local service group to obtain my volunteer hours. Through my experience volunteering at Mutuo Soccorso, I learned valuable lessons about serving others and appreciation for everything I have available to me.
While at Mutuo Soccorso, I helped in the cooking department of the organization. Alongside my roommate and other local volunteers, we prepared and cooked meals for the local homeless community in Milan. When I arrived, we would begin by determining what would be cooked that day from what donations they have received from local businesses. Then, we would prepare all the produce that would be used for the meal. I thought that cutting vegetables would be a piece of cake since I have spent a lot of time in the kitchen at home, but I learned how to cut vegetables I have never worked with before. One night I spent over an hour cutting artichokes and finished with blisters on my hands. I found out afterward that everyone was grateful because that was their least favorite job to do and they had me do it. Everyone makes the environment so much fun that it never actually feels like work while you are there. Throughout the cooking process, everyone helps to wash dishes so they don’t pile up. When the food is all prepared, we help package the hot food into containers so the next shift of volunteers can help deliver it.
Working with Mutuo Soccorso was such a great experience. Through my time there I learned more of the Italian language, learned the means of hard work and how much it pays off, and how to be selfless when you have more to give. These volunteers show up week after week for years now to help those who really need it. I am so grateful to have been a part of this organization during my time in Milan and I hope to continue my service as I return home.
Written by: Delaney Bartholomew, Spring 2023 Milan student from York College of Pennsylvania