Center Spotlight: Raine Sagramsingh
Hometown: Bradenton, FL
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Raine Sagramsingh is ready to solve the puzzle of homelessness.
The mechanical engineering major has spent her four years at FSU doing many kinds of service in and for the Tallahassee community, but homelessness has been primary focus.
Sagramsingh served with multiple shelters and youth groups in Tallahassee before going to work at the Kearney Center when it opened in 2015. At one shelter, she was responsible for tasks like folding laundry, checking out towels, handing out soap and shampoo, writing in the logbook, and serving dinner.
People experiencing homelessness in Tallahassee come from a wide range of backgrounds and identities. This, along with as Sagramsingh’s opportunity to work with multiple groups in the community, strongly impacted how she views homelessness.
“Seeing how different organizations work together was really eye-opening,” she said.
Cats or dogs?
Coffee or tea?
Deep-sea Diving or spacewalking??
Sagramsingh has also played a role in the Community Outreach Program, taking on the role of facilitator for trips to Second Harvest of the Big Bend, which operates an area food bank. Her job included working with her group to go through and organize farm products to sort out the good from the bad. They spent three to four weeks going through enormous containers of sweet potatoes, throwing out the rotten ones and saving the good ones for distribution.
She said that members of the group would occasionally question why they were doing this—why going through sweet potato after sweet potato would make a difference.
“It has to be done because Second Harvest doesn’t have the funding to pay people to do that kind of work. It’s important so they can continue to distribute food to people,” Sagramsingh said. “You have to think about food safety because one rotting potato would ruin the whole container.”
She found it incredibly difficult to throw out any of the food—even the food that was spoiled. Sagramsingh recognized that there were people who were so desperate to eat that they would take expired food, but that expired food would ultimately do more harm than good.
Through her work with Community Outreach and local homeless shelters, Sagramsingh learned that short-term commitments to service can have just as much of an impact as long-term.
“It’s the little pieces of the big puzzle that we’re doing when we go and serve for a day,” she said.
— Charlie Andelman