DU Community Packages 10,000 Meals for Hungry

Students worked on assembly lines on September 23, 2022, to package 10,000 meals for the hungry.

Students, faculty, and staff from Dominican University New York volunteered to package meals for the hungry during the Preaching in Action service project as part of Founders Week.  About 100 volunteers worked with the Outreach Program to package tasty, nutritious meals of rice and beans and apple-cinnamon oatmeal. The meals will be distributed locally to families in need. 

Ted Swartwood, The Outreach Program Regional Manager in NY in NJ, said the nonprofit was unable to use large gatherings of volunteers during COVID. “We can’t catch up with the demand,” said Swartwood.  “I told these kids they should all be proud of themselves for making the effort to come here.  They are making a difference.”

The volunteers packaged the meals on assembly lines set up in the Lawrence Room of Rosary Hall on September 23, 2002.  The mission of the Outreach Program is to provide safe water, food, medical care, and education to those in need, at home and abroad. 

Students Volunteer With Habitat for Humanity During Spring Break

Dominican College students and chaperones traveled to Lexington, VA, and Loveland, CO, to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity during Spring Break.

More than 20 Dominican College students volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, building and renovating homes, during Spring Break. One group of students and chaperones traveled to Lexington, VA, and the others went to Loveland, CO, as part of the Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program.   

Dana McStowe, Director of Community Engagement & Leadership Development, said service is a great way for students to continue to grow and develop as a person. “I feel it is important for students to spend Spring Break doing service as way to give back and learn about the world outside of the classroom,” she said. “Students who go on ASB will get to learn more about a new area and the people who live there. One of the best parts about college is challenging yourself to do new things and I think students who are attending the ASB trips are going to challenge themselves in the best ways possible.”

Students were excited to resume the ASB trip, beginning March 12, 2022, after last year’s trip was cancelled due to COVID.  In all, 21 Dominican College students participated in Alternative Spring Break and four staff members accompanied them. 

Students Volunteer in Camden During Weekend of Service

Three female students in masks organizing supplies.

Dominican College students helped organize supplies at the UrbanPromise afterschool program in Camden, NJ, to get ready for its reopening.

A team of Dominican College students, alumni, and staff volunteered in Camden, NJ, during a Weekend of Service from March 5-7, 2021.  The group worked with Romero Center Ministries to help UrbanPromise prepare to reopen its afterschool program which had been shut down for several months because of COVID-19.

“They had a lot of work for us to get ready for the students to come back – organizing classrooms, moving furniture, decorating bulletin boards, painting, and yard work,” said Kathryn Strobel, Director of Community Engagement & Leadership Development.

In addition to volunteering, the Dominican College students lived and ate simply, engaged in reflection, and disconnected from technology.   Strobel said the students also watched a documentary to gain a deeper understanding of the people living in Camden and to hear their stories.  The Weekend of Service allowed students to be involved in service even though the traditional Alternative Spring Break Program was canceled.

Students Package 10,000 Meals for the Hungry

Students packaged 10,000 rice and beans meals to be distributed to families in need on September 4, 2020.

Dominican College students packaged 10,000 non-perishable rice and beans meals for the hungry on September 4, 2020, by partnering with The Outreach Program on a service project called “Feed Your Soul.”

Kathryn Strobel, Director of Community Engagement & Leadership Development, pointed out that the College’s first Day of Service took place during Hunger Action Month.  “Many Americans don’t have access to sufficient, nourishing food.  I believe this activity is popular among our students because it feels good to put time into helping others, and to see the tangible result of 10,000 meals – knowing that will have a positive impact on thousands of people. This activity is proof that, when we work together, small actions can make a big difference.”

Safety was a top priority during the service project. The food packaging was done in shifts with a maximum of 25 students in the gym at one time.  Students were required to wear masks and gloves.  In addition, surfaces were frequently disinfected.

The meals will be distributed to families in need by The Outreach Program and People to People.  Some of the meals will also be kept in the College’s food pantry for food insecure students.  The Outreach Program is a nonprofit organization focused on providing safe water, food, medical care, and education to children and those in need at home and abroad.

College Donates Food to Local Organizations

Kathryn Strobel, Director of Community Engagement and Involvement, packs bags of food into a truck to donate to local organizations,

Dominican College has donated boxes of pre-packaged meals and bags of canned goods to People to People and the Nyack Center to help local families in need.

Kathryn Strobel, Director of Community Engagement and Leadership Development, said that the food came from the College’s Catherine Howard Food Pantry and prior to the COVID-19 outbreak was intended to help students, who are no longer on campus.  “My thought was why have the food sitting there going unused knowing that there are people who desperately need food right now in our community,” said Strobel.

In addition, Dominican Dining Services run by Chartwells donated snack foods to emergency room doctors and nurses at Montefiore Nyack Hospital who have little time to prepare or order food as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students Volunteer During Alternative Spring Break

These students volunteered with Casa Alitas Catholic Community Services in Tucson, AZ during Alternative Spring Break. Other students worked with Habitat for Humanity building and renovating homes in Colorado and Virginia.

About 30 students and chaperones from Dominican College participated in the Alternative Spring Break Program in early March, volunteering in three different locations across the country.  Some of the students worked with Habitat for Humanity to construct and restore homes for people in need in Melfa, VA and Loveland, CO. The students put in long days working on the homes, while they also lived simply, disconnected from technology, and focused on self-reflection.

“I learned a lot about myself from this experience,” said senior Jhanya Squires, who volunteered in Colorado. “I want to be more involved in service opportunities like this and encourage others to be involved.  This is my second service trip I have been on this year and the feeling and memories I have gotten from them is like nothing I have felt before.”

A third group of students volunteered at Casa Alitas Catholic Community Services in Tucson, AZ.  Kathryn Strobel, Director of Community Engagement and Leadership Development, said the goal of this trip was to assist migrant families who legally crossed the border.  A grant from the Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt helped to fund the trip.

“They wanted us to help at the border,” said Strobel. “Their intention was for us to be at Casa Alitas helping these families, welcoming these families, and interacting with them – just being someone the first time they are in America who is kind and meets them with a smile.”

At Casa Alitas, the students served meals, cleaned, and played with children.  They also learned about illegal migrants from the Colibri Center for Human Rights and witnessed federal prosecutions of those accused of illegally crossing the border in the U.S. District Court of Tucson.  Strobel said the experience broadened students’ perspectives and inspired them to create positive change.

Dominican College Hosts MLK Day of Service

Students, staff, and community members volunteered on Saturday, January 18, 2020 as part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.  The event was sponsored by Volunteer New York! and took place in the Granito Center.

“MLK Day is a day millions across our country choose to come together as volunteers, inspired by a message of hope and equality, and enact positive change by addressing local needs,” says Volunteer New York! Executive Director, Alisa H. Keston. “We’re especially thankful to Dominican College for their partnership in bringing our 10th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service to Rockland in such a special way.”

Volunteers worked on a number of projects for children, seniors, and deployed service members.  In addition, some volunteers were trained in Hands-Only CPR.

Dominican College Hosts MLK Day of Service

Students, staff, and community members volunteered on Saturday, January 18, 2020 as part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.  The event was sponsored by Volunteer New York! and took place in the Granito Center.

“MLK Day is a day millions across our country choose to come together as volunteers, inspired by a message of hope and equality, and enact positive change by addressing local needs,” says Volunteer New York! Executive Director, Alisa H. Keston. “We’re especially thankful to Dominican College for their partnership in bringing our 10th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service to Rockland in such a special way.”

Volunteers worked on a number of projects for children, seniors, and deployed service members.  In addition, some volunteers were trained in Hands-Only CPR.

Volunteers Package 10,000 Meals for the Hungry

Volunteers packaged 10,000 macaroni and cheese meals in the Lawrence Room of Rosary Hall on September 27, 2019.

The Dominican College community packaged 10,000 macaroni and cheese meals for the hungry by partnering with The Outreach Program, Inc. during Founders Week.   More than 130 students, faculty, administrators, and staff volunteered on the assembly lines that were set up in the Lawrence Room of Rosary Hall on September 27, 2019.

The Outreach Program Regional Manager Ted Swartwood said Dominican College’s assistance is appreciated, “Hunger is a real issue wherever you go and the meals will go to people who really need them.  One in five people in the greater Rockland County area do not know where their next meal is coming from.  These meals will help.”

About 9,000 meals were delivered to People to People for distribution to local families and the remainder are being kept in the College food pantry for students.  The Outreach Program is a nonprofit organization focused on providing safe water, food, medical care, and education to children and those in need at home and abroad.

New Food Pantry Opens On Campus

Virginia Reeves, sister of Sr. Catherine Howard, cuts the ribbon on the new Sr. Catherine Howard Food Pantry. College President Sr. Mary Eileen O’Brien is on the right.

A new food pantry for students has opened on the Dominican College campus.  A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Sr. Catherine Howard Food Pantry took place on Friday, September 27, 2019.   The pantry is located in the Sullivan Library and is open on Tuesdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Melissa Leigh Grau, Director of Community Engagement & Leadership Development, said the goal is to help students so they are able to pursue an education with as few barriers as possible.  “Students who self-identify as needing food assistance, as well as students referred by faculty or staff, will have access to shelf-stable food staples, as well as on-the-go snacks like granola bars and peanut butter,” she said.

Social work students Jhanya Squires and Arabia Shearn (left to right) both worked to get the Sr. Catherine Howard Food Pantry up and running in the Sullivan Library.

Grau said her office is working with the Social Work Department and the Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt on the project.  The Sisters have donated money from several fundraisers toward the pantry, which is staffed by a social work intern.  The pantry was named in honor of Sr. Catherine Howard, who served as president of The Sisters of St. Dominic of Blauvelt and as a College trustee.  The talented administrator and social worker died on November 9, 2018.  She is remembered for her dedication, kindness, and selflessness.