Students Return to Spring Break Service
While most students returned home or traveled abroad for Baylor’s spring break in March, two groups of students and staff devoted their time to support relief and cleanup efforts in communities rebuilding from natural disasters.
The Kentucky Clean Up Mission Team helped in recovery and restoration for the community of Mayfield, which was devastated by a large tornado that leveled hundreds of homes and destroyed businesses and churches in December 2021.
Partnering with a local church and Habitat for Humanity, students worked to improve the safety of damaged homes and began the rebuilding process for those who lost their homes. Work included cleanup and basic repairs, helping restore several homes throughout the community.
Science Research Fellow Sai Sagireddy, a senior originally from Trinidad and Tobago, volunteered with the Kentucky team at a warehouse that stocked donations sent by organizations from around the country.
“The most impactful thing was definitely the people,” Sagireddy said. “There was a woman looking for stuff she needed. Her entire house — there was nothing there. When she was at the warehouse, she just looked around, still shocked. It had been three months. Every time they came into the warehouse, we, as volunteers, were able to give and serve.”
The Louisiana Clean Up Mission Team traveled to LaPlace, continuing recovery efforts that started during Baylor’s fall break mission trip to respond to the devastation of Hurricane Ida, a Category 4 hurricane that struck the Gulf Coast in late August 2021.
Local relief organizations created opportunities for students to assist in rebuilding family homes and community centers. Efforts included things such as painting, moving, lawn work and cleaning.
“In class, we read a lot of case studies, but to be in the moment, to see these lives, to see the people behind the stories was the biggest thing,” Saigreddy said. “I chose to be here because, for the past year, I’ve been trying to connect vocation, faith and calling and how to serve in the future in my career. I think more and more as I continue to do trips like these, I feel missions is the answer to that.”
Both trips were free to Baylor students and marked the return of mission trips after COVID-19 restrictions sidelined efforts in 2020 and 2021.