Dedicating time and energy even on days when it is rainy and cold, the YACHT Club travels into Philadelphia every Thursday and Saturday to help show love in areas of injustice. YACHT, which stands for Youth Against Complacency and Homelessness Today, works to help people in the city by doing as much as they can to provide food and companionship to those in need.
The club frequently asks themselves as a group how they can provide more assistance to those in need and challenge themselves to do more. JC Garges, one of the group’s four leaders, says that he was drawn to this form of service because it is such a personable ministry that allows him to meet and interact with people in the city. He explains that it is an incredible experience to be able to learn the names of the people that YACHT serves and build relationships with many faces he sees week after week. One memory that stands out for Garges is a touching letter the group received from a friend in the city who spoke only Chinese. The five-page letter from their friend had to be translated, as it was written completely in Chinese, but once they were able to read his words, they were incredibly moved by the appreciation expressed in its pages. Garges also mentions that it is an uplifting experience to see familiar faces whenever they go into the city, building relationships with these people and discussing their lives with them.
One of Garges’ favorite parts about YACHT is the support it elicits right here on Eastern’s campus. He explains that he loves seeing new faces each week at their meetings; whether the students are fulfilling their service learning requirement or attending out of pure interest in the club, they really help the club do bigger and better things. In addition to attending meetings, many students donate one meal swipe per week to donate food to the club. The group receives food donations from Le Pain Quotidien in Wayne and Sodexo to help make sandwiches and lunches to distribute. With the donated supplies, YACHT is able to create about 50 lunches on Thursdays and 30 lunches on Saturdays that they then distribute in the city.
Before they depart to deliver the lunches, the group circles up and prays together. Once in Philadelphia, the group distributes meals at Logan Circle to anyone who needs one, sometimes joining with another volunteer group that distributes hot meals. After they give people food, members of YACHT converse with them, learning names and stories while forming relationships with them. They talk about anything from religion to the Phillies, allowing them to create connections with people they otherwise may have never known. The service that YACHT provides assists so many people, and the compassionate students involved with it help fight injustices in the area every week.