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July, 2019

CUA Gives for the Holidays

By Lisa Carroll

Law students Ed Lafayette and Joan Gibson sort food collected for the Outlaw Hunger Campaign of the Capital Area Food Bank.

As the season of goodwill approaches, several CUA schools, departments and offices have already begun acts of charity for the holidays.

As it does every year, the Office of Campus Ministry organized a collection of Thanksgiving groceries that were delivered to Emmaus Services for the Aging. During the week of Nov. 17–23 — National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week — 100 bags of groceries as well as $500 in donations of cash and gift cards were collected and delivered to the Washington, D.C., organization, which delivers the food and gifts to the elderly and also hosts a large holiday feast for them. During the same week, the CUA office also collected socks for the homeless.

The Columbus School of Law sponsored its own food drive for Thanksgiving. Students, faculty and staff participated in the first annual Outlaw Hunger Campaign for the Capital Area Food Bank. The campaign encouraged area law firms to collect food for the food bank. Two CUA organizations — the Student Bar Association and Students for Public Interest Law — joined in the campaign by collecting food between Nov. 3 and 18. To encourage people to participate, the three law classes competed against each other and against the faculty and staff to see who could contribute the most items. The second-year students, who contributed 307 items, were the winning class and received a study break in which they were rewarded with coffee and food. In total, the food drive at the law school collected 900 items and more than $140 for the Capital Area Food Bank.

“Outlaw Hunger is an opportunity for the Washington, D.C., legal community to assist those suffering from hunger right here at home while simultaneously working together in a way that is compassionate, active and effective,” says Melissa Feldmeier, a first-year law student and member of the Student Bar Association.

Also last month, on Nov. 14, the Master’s Student Association within CUA’s National Catholic School of Social Service sponsored a social to help raise money for the construction of homes and schools in the Philippines. NCSSS and the Philippines have a connection: The school and its professors run a two-year Master of Teaching in Social Work program for social workers in a war-ravaged part of that country. The Nov. 14 event, which featured a Thanksgiving-themed potluck, raised $1,100. With other financial contributions throughout the semester, the students expect to be able to donate enough money to Community and Family Services International to build three homes for families in the Philippines.

During the week of Dec. 1–5, CUA’s libraries will host a “Food for Fines” program. Anyone with library fines at CUA libraries will be able to bring in non-perishable food items to the John K. Mullen of Denver Memorial Library circulation desk. Fines will be decreased by one dollar for every item donated. In conjunction with CUA’s Office of Campus Ministry, the food will be passed on to the organization SOME (So Others Might Eat).

Staff and students from the Office of Campus Ministry in December 2007 with gifts donated for that year's Giving Tree.

Continuing its Christmas tradition, the Office of Campus Ministry is sponsoring a Giving Tree. Beginning this month, students, faculty and staff can either choose an ornament from the tree located in the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center or visit in order to receive a “wish list” item to purchase for a family in the Brookland community.

Emmjolee Mendoza Waters, associate campus minister for community service, began a Giving Tree as a student at CUA and has restarted the tradition since returning to CUA to work in the Office of Campus Ministry. Although she knows the economic situation is tough for many this year, she is optimistic about collecting gifts for the needy children of the Brookland neighborhood.

“Our students have shown a lot of interest in the program this year,” she explains. “It shows in their excitement to make a kid smile at Christmas, and hopefully that will override any financial strain they’re feeling this year.”

Mendoza Waters also says that over the years, she believes gift donations have increased. “I would say our CUA community is really generous,” she adds. “It’s a really nice thing that CUA can pull together and give to the community around us.”

A number of other offices on campus, e.g., the Office of Student Life and Special Events at the law school and the Office of Public Affairs, also organize gift giving for children off campus.

CUA alumni and other members of the university community participated in last year's Wreaths Across America ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. They are invited to do so again this year.

On Saturday, Dec. 13, the CUA Alumni Association will partner with Wreaths Across America to lay Christmas wreaths on the graves of fallen military veterans interred at Arlington National Cemetery. More than 15 years ago, Worcester Wreath Co., based in Harrington, Maine, began donating wreaths to be placed on the graves at Arlington National Cemetery. Today the event is held at cemeteries across the country.

“It’s a good way for people to honor veterans during the holidays, which is something people really want to do,” explains Director of Alumni Relations Marion Gosney.

This is the second year the Office of Alumni Relations has participated in the wreath laying. For more information about the event or to sign up to participate, click

Finally, the start of the Christmas season at CUA wouldn’t seem complete without the Annual Christmas Concert for Charity. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the gala concert held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. A freewill collection will be taken up during the Friday, Dec. 5, 7:30 p.m. concert, which this year benefits the Little Sisters of the Poor, who operate the Jeanne Jugan Residence for the elderly poor on Harewood Road. This popular concert, which has drawn a standing-room-only crowd for the past several years, will feature performances by the CUA Chorus and Symphony Orchestra led by Leo Nestor, Justine Bayard Ward Professor of Music, and David Searle, orchestra conductor. The Basilica Choir under the direction of Peter Latona, director of music at the basilica, also will perform. For more information about the concert, click here.


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Last Revised 25-Nov-08 09:29 AM.