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By Emily Carson, '14
BonaResponds is seeking volunteers from the community to join current and prospective students in preparing boxes of food for the hungry in disaster-ravaged Haiti and the Philippines.
The food will be packaged during a daylong work session Saturday, March 22, at St. Bonaventure University’s Reilly Center Arena.
BonaResponds, one of the nation’s leading collegiate relief organizations since it was founded after Hurricane Katrina, will be working with the organization Feed My Starving Children to package enough food to feed 100,000 people.
St. Bonaventure’s Admissions Office is inviting high school students considering St. Bonaventure University to participate in the service project as part of a Saturday visit to campus. Students will receive a certificate to help fulfill any high school community service requirements.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to show prospective students how rewarding the St. Bonaventure experience outside the classroom can be. Working side by side with current students, they will come to know the Bona community,” said Kate Dillon Hogan, associate vice president for enrollment.
Prospective St. Bonaventure students can register at www.sbu.edu/difference. Community members interested in making a donation or working a shift at the food-packing event can sign up at bonaresponds.org.
Founded in 1987, Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) is a Christian nonprofit hunger organization that distributes packed meals through missionaries and global nonprofits across the world. FMSC has developed MannaPackRice, a meal to be cooked with boiling water, consisting of rice, extruded soy nuggets, dehydrated vegetables, vitamins and minerals.
Each meal costs only 22 cents and is specially designed to feed the malnourished. But that means BonaResponds needs to raise $22,000 in order to package 100,000 meals.
“We were going to package 200,000 meals originally, but we had to cut back because we didn’t have enough funding,” said Dr. Jim Mahar, associate professor of finance and faculty adviser for BonaResponds. “If we had more money, we would pack 300,000 meals. It’s purely a monetary decision.”
To date, BonaResponds has raised about $18,000 by selling glass roses donated by Corning Inc., and through other donations. The organization is planning other fundraisers, including a can redemption drive, a free-throw shooting contest, and an auction of artwork from local students.
BonaResponds is also looking for up to 300 volunteers to help package food in the Reilly Center. There are three available two-hour shifts, along with setup the night before and cleanup after the event.
“The event is open to everyone, and we would love everyone to come out and volunteer that day, or any other day,” Mahar said. “Almost every weekend, BonaResponds is doing something, and we would love to have people join us. It’s a fun thing to do.”
In 2010, in response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti, BonaResponds packed 113,184 meals to feed 310 children every day for a year (see photo above). The organization is looking to have the same success with this event.
Reed McElfresh, ’13 ’14, an active BonaResponds member, said buying and packing food to send are the organization’s only options.
“It’s very difficult to send money to Haiti. The government is corrupt and chances are that the money would not be used to feed people,” he said. “Feed My Starving Children has people on the ground to make sure those meals get to the hungry.”
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. We are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition. Our students are becoming extraordinary.
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