Wright County Blog

         A group of haggard college students exhausted from the school week, we departed Columbia on Friday evening. Excited for the weekend ahead, our group bonded in the car over 90's hits. After a decent amount of off-key singing, we arrived at our housing at Calvary Temple Church Our housing was amazing! We had access to a gym, basketball hoops, a pool table, air hockey, and foosball. A perfect scenario to unplug.

        Our Saturday service began at a site very near our housing. The church was working with a project called "The Least of These", focused on providing assistance in foster or adoption situations. Often times, children must evacuate homes in an emergency situation, and they do not have many belongings with them. Our site contact, Amanda, told a story of a woman who was called to pick up a newborn one day. She had no items for the baby. At the site, we set up shelves and sorted bottles, toys, clothing, diapers, and other necessities for pick-up. This site will serve as a great first-step for future children heading to new homes. 


        Our second Saturday site was a transition home set up by On Time Ministry. The third of its kind, the site was designed as a rehabilitation facility for victims of sex trafficking. This particular site was at the very early stages of construction, so we scraped and mopped the floors in preparation for its finishing coat. Though this site involved some intense manual labor, we found it to be incredibly rewarding. Our eyes were opened to the fact that trafficking occurs even in rural Missouri, and people are actively working to stop it. 

         On Sunday, we did service for Mountain Grove Love Center Food Pantry. We did a food drive at the local Walmart for food items or cash donations. We set up tables outside of the store in the cold and talked to people as they passed by. By the end of this service, we were wishing for the abnormally warm weekends we've had in the past months. Luckily we had hand warmers and cocoa, and we collected an awesome amount of food and money for the site!


        We were amazed by the kindness we experienced on our trip. Though we were providing a service, our contacts truly served us. Each contact took our names to recognize us to their organization members, and the food bank is even giving us a shoutout in their local paper! We learned a great deal from our sites, and we had awesome interactions with the people of Wright County.

-MAB "Just Wright", Wright County

College of Education - Jackson County

Friday, "KIPP'n it real" ventured to Kansas City in our minivan, "The Tank," as the smallest trip MAB has ever sent out. We arrived to City Union Mission Family Center and got straight to our first service project. Three thousand papers needed to be folded and sorted out. During the first fours, we kept "Poco a poco" in mind, since it felt like we were barely making a dent in the stack of 3000 papers.

The next morning, we woke up bright and early to head out to KIPP: Endeavor. This was Katie's second time going to KIPP for an MAB trip, and it was awesome for her to see the growth of the school. Last time she was there, she helped to sort out books, so that one day KIPP could have a school library. Saturday, we received a tour of the building from Haley, Jay, and Jay's preschool-aged daughter. We actually got to see the library they had made in the past year, and it was awesome to see a project from last year completed! We then got to work renovating a room that had not been used in 15 years. We set out to paint the wall with a quote, but ended up turning the entire room into a break room for "The Wild West" teachers whose classrooms were in that wing of the school. We found tables and chairs from storage, hung up pictures, and painted a quote. Carolyn was the mastermind behind the d├ęcor of the room with all her HGTV knowledge. KIPP was also kind enough to give us each a KIPP mug! After we finished the room, and ate some d'Bronx pizza, we headed back to City Union to get back to folding pamphlets.

That night, we went to Joe's KC, and Susan finally realized why Katie could not stop talking about the restaurant in a gas station. If you're ever in the KC area, do yourself a favor and get a Z-Man from Joe's.

Sunday morning, we tried Breakout KC and learned a lot about teamwork in one hour of being trapped in an escape room. After a two-hour journey trying to find food, our gumbiness brought us to Arthur Bryant's. We came back to City Union, and helped to clean up after lunch. While we were cleaning up, we met some of the people who lived at City Union, and it was really awesome to serve our housing site.

Thank you to City Union Mission, KIPP: Endeavor, Mizzou's College of Education, and Mizzou Alternative Breaks for giving us the opportunity to learn and serve the Missouri community.

- KIPP'n it real (aka Carolyn, Katie, and Susan)

Weekend AKPsi / Phelps County

We led a partnership trip with Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity to Rolla in Phelps County, Missouri this past weekend. We served at the Community Partnership Resale Shop on Saturday the 11th, organizing and shelving 75 bins of clothing for 6 hours. On Sunday the 12th, we had the opportunity to serve at The Mission, where we cooked and served breakfast to the individuals from the community. Both programs were community outreach programs allowing us to meet and learn about the stories of those in the community. This was the first time Mizzou Alternative Breaks has served in Phelps County therefore, the people were very appreciative of our time and willingness to serve. We thoroughly enjoyed serving with our AKPsi brothers, as this made the experience more memorable. We hope to continue this partnership in the future and continue to be an active citizen in Missouri and around the country!

Fort Pierce - Animals

Day 6:

Today was our last day serving with Save the Chimps. We went into the day with high spirits, ready to give our final day our all. We started the day in two groups. The first group stayed back at the maintenance building with Whitney. We made tire swings from donated tires, rolls of seatbelt straps and rubber hosing. Whitney also had us power wash some woven fire-hose segments and remove and replace the rusting hardware. Working with Whitney was always a great time. Whitney has incredible work ethic, but knows how to add a bit (or a lot) of humor to her work.
The second group went to the kitchens and prepped more raisin boards, tennis balls, “surprise” boxes (treats are hidden in paper shavings), and birthday presents. The birthday presents were handed out later in the afternoon to all of the chimps born in December through January. The treats and presents were gift wrapped and bagged by yours truly- and they were super cute.
We broke for lunch around our usual time, but when we arrived back at the break room we had a lovely surprise from Monica, our volunteer coordinator, and the rest of the STC staff: a pizza party! We were also given gift bags with STC calendars featuring our favorite chimps, and artwork painted by September, a chimp resident of the sanctuary. On the wall of the break room was a thank you banner made just for us. This moment was quite emotional for us, as we realized that our time with our site was truly coming to an end. The group lunch allowed us one last time to socialize with the crew and reflect on our time spent there this week.

After lunch, some of us went to Al’s Red Barn and Grill to pick up a large donation of fresh oranges, while some went out on the boat with Jeff. Jeff had us installing more screws into the fencing to stabilize the wooden extensions of the enclosures. Jeff is another incredible employee of the sanctuary, and a genuine joy to work with. While making our rounds on the boat we saw a 9 foot gator soaking up the sun on the bank of the moats, which was super cool at first but gave us the heebie-jeebies when we watched it slide back under the surface.
Our last event of the day was watching a feeding on Lou’s island. The chimps took their turns patiently collecting their dinners, and we got to see some tennis balls and birthday presents that we had prepared be distributed as well (which was very rewarding). S/O to Greg for letting us shadow his feeding shift.
Our day unfortunately ended with some tough goodbyes. We had an incredible experience throughout our week of service, and are so honored to have been welcomed into Save the Chimps. We can’t begin to thank the staff and volunteers at STC enough for opening up their doors (and gate) to us and letting us be a part of what they do every day for these chimps. The work was often physically demanding and tedious, but the wellness and excitement brought to the chimps made it all worth it. We have so much respect for all the work the STC staff and volunteers put in each day to keep this facility so well maintained, and to keep the chimps happy, healthy and entertained. Our on-site service may end today, but our relationship with this site has hopefully just begun.
- The First Fort Pierce

Fort Pierce - Animals

Day 4 has come to a close and we cannot believe we only have one more day remaining of service at Save the Chimps. This week so far has been an incredible experience. One in which we have to remind ourselves every day that this is real life.

Upon arriving to Save the Chimps, we were told we would be going to the "thirteenth island" where we would be doing hard labor with some of the maintenance men (S/O Jeff). After hearing this, we were all confused as we did not know there was a thirteenth island. Once we arrived at the "thirteenth island" we learned that it was just an area of land at the back of the sanctuary where they are hoping to build a future island or another primate dome that houses special needs chimps in coming years so they are able to house more chimps. Our task for the morning was to take apart 6x6 palettes that were covered with weaved fire hoses on one side. These palettes were originally made for the chimps to play with on their islands. This task was some-what difficult because it was more labor intensive than our other work that we had done previously this week; and not to mention the hot Florida sun beating down on us the whole time. With only three drills to use, our group figured out a system and was able to unscrew all the nuts and bolts within a few hours. Then came the fun part….demolition!! Each person got the chance to use the sledge hammer (if they chose) and take a whack at the wood palette. Huge shout out to Baylee and Josh for leading the team in their super strength and hitting the sh*t out of it…they made it look easy, and let me tell you it was not - shout out to Kylie for dropping the mallet during her first attempted hit, Morgan for almost hitting her foot, and Anna for actually hitting her foot. Within three hours we had the wood torn apart and put into a pile to go to the burning grounds and un-weaved the fire hoses and put those in a separate pile to be recycled for future use.

Because we finished our work early this morning, we were able to have a little extra lunch break where we enjoyed the Florida weather and went outside and some of us threw the ball around or soaked in the sun. After lunch was over, Monica came over with the best news we could hear- CHIMP TIME!! Heck ya! She took us in two groups over to the "special needs" habitat where we were able to interact with some of the chimps. It was a grand time being able to watch Jon (a cool participant) play chase with Clay (fav chimp), watch Clay and Mr. T (cute chimp) play tug a war over a rope, being able to use tickle sticks with Cheetah and Timmy (friend chimps), and watch Kylie (human participant) use her "chimp whispering" skills. We always love having the opportunity for chimp time which a lot of other volunteers normally don't get.

Once chimp time came to a close we were divided up into two groups, minus Josh who was taken away by Jeff to help the maintenance guys replace wood on the islands against the river. One group was assigned the task of putting hundreds of pinecones into large gray trash looking bins in order to get them off the ground so that they are able to last longer. The other group helped out in the kitchen making flour bags, which are brown lunch bags comprised of flour and a trail mix that are rolled and taped. They also had to make apple cartons which are drizzled with honey and covered with sunflower seeds and cranberries. We were able to finish these tasks early and get one more in before having to leave for the day. Monica took us back to the maintenance building where we were tasked with counting up all the leftover "Chimpmas" presents that were in the break room and then dividing them in separate equal piles. How many people does it take to count presents? Clearly not 12 because we could not figure it out. With this task being at the end of a long labor-intensive hot day, it took us a little bit to figure out a working system to count and divide. With trial and error (and a little patience) we were able to divide the presents and send one pile up to the kitchen while the other was put away into storage.

After a long day of work, we decided to just come back to the house, hang out, and play a game of whiffle ball outside before making dinner.

We are sad to realize that tomorrow is our last day of service but very thankful that we were able to stay and finish out our week despite the crazy weather coming. Our time with the chimps may be coming to an end but we will always remember the memories we have made with each other, the workers at Save the Chimps, and most importantly, the time spent with the chimps.

~ the funky fresh crew of Fort Pierce ~