JOLIET, Ill. — While it’s true that food gives people energy, sometimes it’s the energy that brings the food.
A committee of University of St. Francis (USF) students, following the lead of senior Erin Suttman (Hartland, Mich.) and junior Brandon Collofello (Minooka), have started an energetic “movement” on campus to feed the hungry. They began with hopes of making a difference in the global community while simultaneously providing a meaningful service opportunity for those close to home.
The students have been working for months with Feed My Starving Children (FMSC), a nonprofit Christian organization that feeds starving children in more than 70 countries, to plan for a “MobilePack” event at the university on April 6.. At the proposed gathering, 500 students and volunteers will pack 100,000 dehydrated meals that are scientifically formulated to provide nourishment for starving children in third-world countries.
“This event is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to bring a vast number of people together within our community to accomplish a common goal of helping others,” Suttman said. “Through the packing process, we will be providing for those in need as well as bringing our students, faculty and members of the community closer together in a selfless effort to provide for those who cannot provide for themselves. The initiative here on USF’s campus has sparked a drive to accomplish a goal, and through that goal we can touch the lives of people all over the world.”
The committee is still trying to raise the FMSC-required $22,000 (or 22 cents per meal) to hold the large-scale event. As of Feb. 1, about $8,500 was raised and students are continuing to come up with creative ways to raise money: Collofello recently set a Guinness world record for Aztec pushups at a basketball game, students have sold frozen yogurt and baked goods, and a campus dodgeball tournament was organized. The committee even provided valet services to guests at the university’s annual Caritas Scholarship Ball — all proceeds going to USF’s FMSC project.
“The steadfast gift of working in ministry is to see the equation of service, leadership, faith and compassion all come together,” said Director of University Ministry Julie Krakora (Oswego), who is leading the students in their efforts. “I am constantly inspired by our FMSC student leaders, who want to prove to others that what seems like an out-of-reach goal for our small university will be achieved due to their passion and hard work.”
To support the USF team, visit www.fundraising.fmsc.org/UniversityofStFrancis and select your level of participation from the left navigational menu. Event-day volunteer spaces will be opening to the public in mid-March. Any questions regarding donating or volunteering can be directed to Krakora at firstname.lastname@example.org or (815) 740-3415.
The University of St. Francis in Joliet serves 3,400 students nationwide, offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs in arts and science, business, education, nursing and health care and social work. For information, call (800) 735-7500 or visit www.stfrancis.edu.