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By Gina Margillo
Communications Manager, Barry University
November 10, 2021, Miami, Florida – The Barry University Health and Sports Center was alive with activity on November 8, 2021, as students and employees raced to prepare 40,000 food packs, most bound for Haiti, in only four hours.
The event, a partnership with Cross Catholic Outreach, featured a human assembly line, with tables lined with volunteers preparing the packs in record time. “We have this down to a science,” said Tessie O’Dea of Cross Catholic Outreach, who has hosted hundreds of similar events around the country.
While a portion of the packed meals will be distributed in the South Florida Community, Barry University and Cross Catholic Outreach selected Haiti as the major recipient due to the extremely high levels of hunger in the country. According to the World Food Programme, nearly half the population needs immediate food assistance. Haiti was also chosen because many Barry University students are of Haitian descent.
“It will be a challenge, but we’re confident we can meet this ambitious goal and do our small part to combat severe food insecurity in Haiti,” said Karen Stalnaker, Director of Campus Ministry, ahead of the event. In fact, the volunteers exceeded their goal by almost 1,000, preparing 40,852 food packs.
Cross Catholic Outreach nutritionists designed a balanced meal and menus are tailored to the region. Each food pack contains soy, rice, pinto beans, dried vegetables, and a vitamin pack. The meals will be shipped to designated Haitian organizations for distribution.
The event is part of Barry University’s Founder’s Week celebration, honoring the institution’s Adrian Dominican heritage and ideals, and it puts into practice Barry University’s enduring commitment to collaborative service.
“By doing a Cross Catholic Outreach Food Packing service project that benefits the poorest of the poor as part of their Founder’s Week celebrations, Barry University faculty, staff, students, and alumni once again model what has been part of Barry’s core since the founders began the institution in 1940,” said Rev. Dr. David G. Caron, OP, a Barry theology professor now with Cross Catholic Outreach. “Those founders would be proud.”
This initiative is generously supported by presenting sponsor Stearns Weaver Miller.
The event garnered local coverage. Watch the broadcast by NBC-6 News of Miami.
Feature photo: Volunteers pack components of meals for Haiti, including pinto beans, rice, and soy. Photo Courtesy of the Barry University Office of Communications