Students contribute to the community with largest volunteer turnout ever

Oct. 10 was the third annual Community Service Day at Keene State College. Jessica Gagne Cloutier, Keene State’s Coordinator of Community Services, stated that with over 200 volunteers, this year’s was the biggest thus far. As early as 9 a.m. eager and enthusiastic students and faculty members gathered in front of the student center to begin their day of volunteering. 

According to Cloutier, this year’s participants are covering 21 total volunteer shifts around the Keene community.

“It’s always fun to get new volunteers. It pushes students to interact with the community in a positive way,” Cloutier continued, “This year’s Community Service Day saw an increase of thirty additional volunteers compared to last year.”

The day was broken down into three-hour shifts and the last project started at 3 p.m.

Among the 21 shifts volunteers were sent to locations such as Stonewall Farm, Hundred Nights shelter and the Keene Community Kitchen.

Volunteers at the Keene Community Kitchen prepared whoopie pies that are to be sold at Keene Pumpkin Fest. Phoebe Bray, the executive director of the Keene Community Kitchen stated that last year the whoopie pie sales accumulated $5,000.

Bray added that all the proceeds from the whoopie pies are to go to the community kitchen in support of feeding locals in need.

“People have to understand who we are feeding. There is a lot of negative stigmas to the poor and homeless, even though many people who frequent our kitchen are senior citizens, single parents and working but still poor individuals,” Bray said.

The community kitchen was able to feed 6,000 individuals this September, according Bray.

Tim Smith / Equinox Staff

Tim Smith / Equinox Staff

Many of the meals that are being provided are a result of the whoopie pie sales.

This Community Service Day, KSC students were able to prepare half of the needed whoopie pies for Pumpkin Fest in their three hour shift.

Across town but working in conjunction with the community kitchen, the Hundred Nights shelter welcomed volunteers in to help prepare for the busy cold months.

Executive Director of the Hundred Nights Shelter Mindy Cambiar, who had previously run the Community Kitchen for 25 years, said, “On top of the growing need for more volunteers financial support is essential for this operation to continue and to stay open longer.”

Cambiar added that although the shelter’s name is Hundred Nights, her and her staff are doing everything in their power to keep it open as long as possible. What the shelter really needs is more volunteers and donations that will go to giving those in need individual shelters from the cold winter months.

“I have previously never done something like this before and wasn’t sure how it would go but now doing it, it’s a great feeling to try and help,” first time volunteer and KSC student Amy Donovan said.

First time volunteers are welcomed all year round at the shelter. “New volunteers just need to attend a one hour class for training to be able to volunteer year round here at the shelter,” Cambiar said.

David Moffat the resource manager of Keene’s Hundred Nights Shelter stated, “I’ve been working here for little under a year and I have to say, it’s amazing to see the high spirits of the individuals that come in given their circumstances.”

When asked about what he thought what most people attending the shelter need he responded, “It’s clear to me that these individuals need jobs the offer wages in which they can support themselves.”

KSC students that visited Hundred Nights shelter prepared living areas for the shelter. Of these volunteers, Kara Gilson of Delta Xi Phi sorority made beds as a part of her community service day experience.

She shared that, “This is my second year volunteering at Hundred Nights Shelter; it really is rewarding to give back to the community.”

“[Our] relationship with [the] college has significantly increased since Jessica Gagne Cloutier has taken control,” Bray said.

Even though there is still a need for volunteering within the community it is certain that Keene State’s growing Community Service Day is heading in the right direction.


Samuel Douglass can be contacted at

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