College students spend spring break volunteering at Starfish Caf - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

College students spend spring break volunteering at Starfish Cafe

Students from all over the U.S. are volunteering at Starfish Cafe. (Photo source: WLOX News) Students from all over the U.S. are volunteering at Starfish Cafe. (Photo source: WLOX News)
For many of the college students this is the first time they've planted. (Photo source: WLOX News) For many of the college students this is the first time they've planted. (Photo source: WLOX News)
Starfish Cafe is getting some much need help from volunteers this week. (Photo source: WLOX News) Starfish Cafe is getting some much need help from volunteers this week. (Photo source: WLOX News)
BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) -

A non-profit eatery in Bay St. Louis is getting some much-needed help from college students on spring break. Volunteers are busy fixing the floors and planting new produce at Starfish Cafe.

Just last week, Pneuma Winds of Hope Executive Director Di Fillhart said she learned the restaurant her nonprofit runs had bad termite damage on the flooring throughout the entire building.

"We do alternative Spring Break every year, so we knew the kids were coming on Monday," Fillhart said. "So we thought Friday, we'll get the floors up and get ready to do a little bit of maintenance."

Fillhart posted about the issue on Facebook and since then she's raised $1,500 to purchase flooring materials. She said a company has stepped up to repair the floors free of charge. 

Meanwhile, 16 college students from all over the U.S. are planting a new crop of vegetables and fruit that will be used to make the dishes sold at the cafe. 

"Putting new soil in here. And now I'm digging and trying to steer the soil so that they can plant new things," said Niyousha Davachi, who is a college student at the University of Texas at Arlington.

For the volunteers, the hard work beats a day at the beach. 

"We're going to school to make the world a better place. So just by spending some time serving the community kinda brings us back to our central mission as students," said Mark Scheldberg, who is also a student at the University of Texas at Arlington.

"My grandfather, he has a green garden and tomato garden in the back of his yard, but I've never really dug in. So doing this is different, but it's actually very fun. It's therapeutic for me," said Joy Thomas a student at Governor's State University in Illinois. 

Fillhart is calling all the help a blessing and said she's grateful for the community support to pay for the flooring materials.

Starfish Cafe is not only a restaurant, it's a nonprofit that offers life and job skills training to adults. The cafe is still very much in need of donations to help repair the damage to the building and to help purchase the structure along with the parking lot outright. 

To learn more about how to donate, visit www.starfishcafebsl.com. 

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