Saint Mary’s Social Work Club has conducted two successful charity events this semester, raising money for disaster relief in Puerto Rico and hosting a peanut butter and jelly drive for La Casa de Amistad, a community center in South Bend.Social Work Club president and senior Marilla Opra said the group aims to foster unity.
“The Social Work Club is a service based club that believes in embodying social work ethics and values in all that we do,” Opra said. “We think that regardless of your future profession, everyone can embody social work values of dignity and worth of a person.”Their Miss-a-Meal drive, along with a silent auction, raised money for the Hispanic Federation Fund for Victims of Hurricane Maria and Puerto Rico. The club aims high with its goals to provide for those in need, Opra said.
“Our goal was to raise $1,000, which is pretty good considering we are a really small club,” she said.
The Miss-A-Meal drive ended on November 3, and the total raised from the drive will be released after Thanksgiving Break. The club also held a silent auction to help meet its goal, she said.
“We were able to get three different basket items donated for the silent auction, and we were able to raise $100 from that,” Opra said. “We’re really excited about that. We were also able to get donations from faculty and a couple students that will be factored in. Right now, it’s looking like we will definitely exceed our goal.”
A few students were confused by the concept of missing a meal, Opra said.
“All it means is that if you have 14 meal swipes, the week that the Miss-A-Meal goes for, you would only have 13,” Opra said. “Sodexo takes the value of that meal ... and gives it to whatever cause the Miss-A-Meal benefits. It’s a really easy way to give back because there are no out-of-pocket costs to students.”
Raising money for victims of the Hurricane in Puerto Rico was an easy choice for the club, Opra said.
“I think sometimes Puerto Rico is overlooked as a part of the United States, even though it is,” she said. “The people in Puerto Rico are American citizens, and a lot of people were willing to jump right in and donate to Texas and Florida, but Puerto Rico was overlooked. The fact that they are still struggling so much is astonishing.”
The club also made sure to choose a reputable charity to send their donations, she said.
“We wanted to donate the money to an organization that sends 100 percent of the proceeds to Puerto Rico,” Opra said.
Earlier in the semester, the club held a peanut butter and jelly drive for La Casa de Amistad, Opra said.
“I’m really proud to say that the club collected a total of 258 jars,” Opra said. “We’re really excited about that and completely exceeded our goal.”
The Social Work Club is already planning its next drive, she said.
“We are going to do another fundraiser this semester for the Family Justice Center, and next semester, we are going to do a drive and Miss-A-Meal for a local food bank,” Opra said. “It’s a great way to support our fellow Americans and get involved in the on-campus and off-campus communities. We’re able to expand our involvement in the club and in different ways through our different connections in the community, which really means a lot to all of us.”