Hunger Clean Up brings Marquette community together
Nearly 2,000 students, faculty and alumni at Marquette University spanned the Milwaukee community Saturday in its largest one-day service event, Hunger Clean-Up. The event has historically been one of the largest and most successful across the nation.
Following a morning ceremony including a grant presentation to three local organizations and a blessing by Marquette President, Father Robert Wild, S.J., the volunteers traveled to approximately 40 worksites around the city.
Sites ranged from pantry and food organization at Hunger Task Force and the House of Peace Community Food Pantry to environmental clean-up with Milwaukee Riverkeeper and Davis Boys and Girls Club. Teams were comprised of students from extracurricular activities, residence halls, athletic teams, fraternities and sororities, as well as individuals and teams of peers.
"When I went to Marquette 20-some years ago, hundreds of students used to participate and work for our annual spring block party which was a big beerfest. Over the last 21 years, seeing that program die and seeing more students get involved with something that is actually in the city, helping Milwaukee, and actually raise awareness and money, has been one of the best transformations since I've graduated from Marquette," said Dean of Students, Dr. Stephanie Quade.
The event began as a modest effort with two hundred volunteers in 1990, and has grown to the current effort of nearly 25% of the Marquette undergraduate population. More than 2,000 people participated this year.
The mission of the student-led endeavor is centered around volunteering for and raising awareness about the issues of hunger and homelessness in Milwaukee.
Three $3,000 grants were given to Cathedral Center, Inc., St. Benedict's Community Meal Program and St. Francis of Assisi Church for specific projects serving these interests. With over $300,000 raised through fundraising for day-of expenses and grants since 1990, Hunger Clean-Up has given back to nearly 80 local organizations and non-profits.
"I've been out here for nearly every one of these Hunger Clean-Up days in my 14 years," said University President Rev. Robert A. Wild, S.J. "It's an amazing effort because it gets several thousand students active. It was started by students and has always been led and organized by students. It may be a toe-in-the-water experience for people, but it's one way a lot of students begin to get engaged in a deeper level of service in our community."
"Marquette is committed to graduating women and men for others," said Father Wild in his blessing over the volunteers. "Today, 2,000 or more of our Marquette students, faculty and staff are translating that slogan into reality - a reality that will make a difference in the lives of many people less fortunate."
Hunger Clean-Up is planned and coordinated by two students, ten co-chairs, a leadership team of 40 and an advisor in the Office of Student Development. The 2010 effort was led by student co-coordinators senior Vincent Howard and junior Christina Starkey.
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