Students ‘step out’ again

Thousands of Baylor students spent a day volunteering in the Waco area through the Steppin’ Out program. Photo courtesy of Megan Taylor

By Raegan Turner I Staff Writer

Students in participating organizations for this semester’s Steppin’ Out were involved in indoor service projects due to inclement weather on April 13. Those assigned to outdoor volunteer sites were rescheduled for this past Saturday.

Twice a year, thousands of students participate in the Steppin’ Out program to spend the day volunteering in the Waco community.

Gilberts, Ill. junior Talia Surges was one of the volunteers who happened to be serving indoors during Steppin’ Out before changes were made due to weather. She spent the morning with her fellow members of Kappa Alpha Theta at Shepherd’s Heart Food Bank helping sort and stock food. The food bank utilizes produce that it receives from places including HEB and Target in order to feed up to 600 families a week, many of whom rely on this food to sustain them for weeks at a time. Surges said she felt like her time spent assisting those in need helped her gain a fresh view of her own life and that Baylor students could benefit from doing the same.

“A lot of students at Baylor, including myself, are extremely privileged and blessed to be able to attend such a nice university. Opportunities like Steppin’ Out allow us to gain perspective on our lifestyles as we realize how in-need our neighbors in our own city are. Just a couple hours of our time can make a huge difference in the community and actually give us the feeling that what we’ve done matters.” Surges said.

33 sites in the Waco community were visited by student volunteers over the two Saturdays. Some of the activities included painting projects, presentations at public schools and playing with impounded dogs. Baylor Athletics contributed both time and financial support as sponsors and volunteers; staff and students partnered to assemble over 900 toiletry kits that were then donated to a local homeless shelter, Shepherd’s Heart Food Pantry and Baylor’s pantry, The Store.

Megan Taylor, student director of Steppin’ Out was touched by the outpouring of support and willingness to serve that Baylor students embodied over the two weekends. Her favorite story from the weekend includes her personal friendship with a Wacoan and the fulfillment of scripture through students that refused to stop serving.

“When I began on the planning committee two years ago, I met the homeowner Betty McLennan to set up her service that semester. She signed up needing help this semester but could not get help at first due to timing and such for the makeup day.” Taylor said. “We were very lucky, however, to send Baylor Circle K and a few other individuals over the day of, on the spot, to service her because they finished serving their other site early! This matches exactly with God’s commandment for service in John 12:26.”

Taylor also encouraged Baylor students to continue contributing to the Waco community by attending the profit-share event, benefitting Steppin’ Out at Mod Pizza on May 1.

“Mention you’re with Baylor Steppin’ Out at the counter; we get 20% proceeds which will help us fund all the sites postponed this Spring due to weather plus brand new sites!” Taylor said.