Last March, Scott Tuttle, president of Livin' Lite Recreational Vehicles, organized a giant food distribution program with Feed The Children, aiming to give food and care packages to 6,000 people spread out over eight towns in northern Indiana.
"I do have a business to run, but you know what? Something like this is more important to me than just keeping my head down and taking care of myself," Tuttle said.
After coordinating with area churches, truck drivers and the food donors, he got his hands dirty packing up boxes with other volunteers.
How much time has he put into the effort?
"I don't know. I haven't kept track of it," he said. "It's been a significant amount of time, but it's worth it."
"I'm just typical of the kind of people around here," he added. "There just a lot of good people in this area and when other people are hurting, they're willing to go out of their way to help get them back on their feet and get through things."
Timothy Tucker used to work at high-end restaurants in Seattle and Dallas, catering to well-to-do Americans.
Today he couldn't be further from the well-heeled. Tucker is helping the homeless and those living below the poverty line in Louisville, Ky., learn to cook healthy meals using fresh ingredients. Tucker hopes that once they learn various culinary skills, they can land jobs at local restaurants.
"We've never seen anything like this before," he said of the current economic climate.
His classes, taught through the Salvation Army, also feed 400 people a day at a homeless shelter.
Tucker said that his program is "much more magical and special" than his prior jobs.
"Here we are able to cook great food and use it to heal people's lives," he said. "It's a much bigger thing in life that cooking incredibly beautiful food for people who have a lot of money to pay for it."
Spring break is typically a time to go to the beach, relax, party or on a more moderate budget stay home and relax on the couch with a good movie or two. But Haydar Ali, a junior at the University of Michigan, Dearborn, decided last year to spend his spring break helping an unemployed man in Detroit.
Ali led a team of college students for the United Way make upgrades at the man's house.
"In these times of economic decline, more than ever we need to step up as humans and help out," Ali said.
So no beer, beach or boardwalks for Ali. Just some lumber, nails and a lesson about the economy.
"Nobody is really immune to the recession and that's why we need to all get together and help out. That way, nobody goes down without a fight," he said. "We're all interrelated in this world."
ABC News' Troy McMullen contributed to this report.