On the morning of Saturday, Jan. 14, approximately 30 students boarded a bus at 8 a.m. leaving for a morning of service in Apopka. The Martin Luther King, Jr. week incorporated the Apopka Farmworker Association as part of its week of celebration and giving back to the community. Students, faculty and staff learned about the poor conditions farmers face on a daily basis. For years, many endured pesticides being sprayed on them while they worked in the fields.
We worked at the house of a woman who had become disabled from her work; she spent the majority of her life working on her hands and knees picking fruits and vegetables ranging from carrots to strawberries to turnips. This labor eventually took its toll on her body and left her unable to walk without assistance and in need of a safe handicap-accessible ramp. That is where Rollins stepped in. A group spent the morning tearing up the rotting wood on the ramp to lay down new wood donated from a local construction company. This means that she can enter and leave her home without fear of falling and further injuring herself .
Another group worked on cleaning her backyard, creating a safe environment for when her granddaughter comes to play. What shocked many of us working in the yard was the large amount of smashed glass scattered over the premises. We cleared the glass and additionally planted a vegetable garden amongst the other plants surrounding the house.
We also had the opportunity to meet high school students and help them decorate their float for the Apopka Martin Luther King, Jr. parade. With so much work and such committed students, the Rollins bus driver agreed to take a group of students back at the scheduled leaving time and return to the worksite to pick up the other students who chose to stay for another hour to continue working.