Monday, November 29, 2021
Marlene Quaroni - Florida Catholic
Photography: MARLENE QUARONI | FC
MIAMI SHORES | In the poorest countries, mothers are turning to extreme measures because of the global hunger crisis. Some boil pots of rocks and water so their children can fall asleep imagining that they’ll have food in the morning.
To alleviate some of that suffering, Cross Catholic Outreach partnered with Barry University Nov. 8, 2021, to help the hungry.
“Today, we are preparing 40,000 meals in four hours to be shipped to Haiti and 4,000 to be distributed to local food pantries,” said Dominican Father Dave Caron, spiritual engagement director for Cross Catholic Outreach, during the food packing event at Barry University. “Each food package contains soy, rice, pinto beans, dried vegetables and a vitamin pack.”
The packing took place in Barry’s gymnasium as part of the school’s Founders Week events. Father Caron was surprised to see the number of volunteers who signed up to package the food. More than 300 students, faculty and staff, wearing plastic aprons and hair caps, stood at one of 12 stations, or tables, in an assembly line that ultimately led to placing small plastic bags into cardboard boxes.
“We reached more than our goal of 40,000 meals in four hours,” said Father Caron, who taught theology at Barry University from 2000 to 2008. “We were able to package more than 41,000 meals.”
Father Caron said he spoke to Barry University’s president, Mike Allen, and all of Florida’s Catholic university presidents about this service project.
“This effort is making Barry University more visible to the community,” said Father Caron. “Barry is meeting its religious mission.”
Cross Catholic Outreach is a Boca Raton-based nonprofit that partners with Catholic religious and lay people to serve the poorest of the poor in 30 countries worldwide. The organization provides food, water, housing, education, orphan supplies, medical care, microenterprise assistance and disaster relief, said Father Caron.
Students said they were happy to participate in the food packaging. Kevin Noriega, a catcher on Barry’s Buccaneer baseball team, was one of a group of baseball players who volunteered their service.
“This will help people in Haiti and our community who don’t have enough food,” he said. “We are proud of what we are doing today.”
Amanda Gonzalez Garcia, a criminology and photography student, said that food insecurity is prevalent all over and she was glad to help out.
“This is a good cause and it’s bringing the community together,” she said. “I hope that there’s an opportunity for more service like this. It is the biggest food drive I have ever seen.”