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America East Conference Schools Compete for Community Service Grant

BU’s Student Food Rescue nominated for Newman’s Own Foundation Grant

t_Newman's Own Grant Photo.jpg

BU’s Winter Outreach program received a grant last year. Photo courtesy of Newman’s Own

The BU Community Service Center’s Student Food Rescue program has been selected to compete for the top grant in the second annual Newman’s Own Foundation Campus Community Service Challenge.

Newman’s Own Foundation, in conjunction with the America East college athletic conference, will give grants to student groups from each of the nine AE schools. As part of the challenge, each student organization nominates a nonprofit to partner with. Both organizations share the grant money.

SFR has paired with the local nonprofit Community Servings and will present its grant proposal with the other finalists before a panel of judges at this year’s America East basketball tournament, beginning Friday, March 4, in Hartford, Conn.

Newman’s Own began 26 years ago when Oscar-winning actor Paul Newman and a friend came up with the idea of creating and selling a salad dressing, with all net profits and royalties after taxes going to charity. Today, the company produces a range of products, including pizza, lemonade, salsa, spaghetti sauce, cereal, popcorn, and wine. Through the Newman’s Own Foundation, the company has donated more than $300 million to charities around the world since it was founded.

During this weekend’s tournament, the foundation will award a total of $80,000 to the nominated student groups and nonprofits. The grants range from $5,000 to a top prize of $25,000. A formal awards presentation will take place during halftime of the 1:30 p.m. women’s game on Sunday, March 6.

The grants will be based on both the level of the student group’s involvement with its nonprofit partner and the partnership’s impact on the students as well as the individuals being helped. The nonprofit’s mission and the groups it serves will also be considered by judges.

Last year, the foundation awarded BU’s Winter Outreach program a $7,500 auxiliary prize. The program had teamed with Phoenix of New Orleans to build houses there.

Student Food Rescue was formed by volunteers in 1988 and has become one of the CSC’s most popular programs. Volunteers make weekly runs collecting food donations from Boston restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops, and supermarkets and delivering them to area pantries and shelters, retrieving ing nearly 150,000 pounds of food annually.

SFR has partnered with Community Servings, Inc., for the past nine years to regularly provide free healthy meals to people living with chronic and critical illnesses and their families. Community Servings also hosts nutrition education and other community programs.

A grant in any amount from the foundation would enable SFR to create more volunteer positions and continue its relationship with Community Servings, says Kat Hasenauer Cornetta, assistant to the dean of students. Program managers Julie de Jesus (CAS’11) and Matthew O’Brien (CAS’11) say a grant “would allow SFR to expand our program to further support the incredible work that Community Servings is doing in the Boston community. Furthermore, we hope that the grant will allow us to begin a nutrition education initiative to improve the health of the BU and Boston communities.”

Cornetta says the Newman’s Own Foundation Community Service Challenge is a “very positive thing to come out of a giant collaboration that gives meaning to the America East Tournament.” Through the challenge, nonprofits can do “substantial good in the communities these schools reside in,” she says.

Learn more about the Newman’s Own Foundation Campus Community Service Challenge here. More information about Community Servings is here. Student Food Rescue Program managers Matt O’Brien and Julie de Jesus can be reached at sfr@bu.edu.

Erin Thibeau can be reached at ethibeau@bu.edu.

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