MADISON -- Each week, St. Paul University Catholic Center on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus hosts a dinner to bring together the student community in a fun setting with the comfort of a family-style meal.
The dinner on February 4, however, had an additional intent -- to learn a little more about Haitian culture through its cuisine, to understand the current situation in Haiti, and to contribute to the relief efforts there.
Megan Arendt, a senior, proposed the idea of using the normal weekly dinner at St. Paul's as a means of raising money and awareness. She suggested that the student organizers of the dinner offer homemade Haitian food and create an event that would be a way to "get people together, set the mood, and help people get excited about fasting and donating to Haiti," said Arendt.
In addition to the dinner, students donated the money they would normally spend on food in a day and instead fasted on February 5. The fast was combined with prayer for the intentions of the Haitian people.
The student organizers of the dinner and the St. Paul's Service Team promoted the event and welcomed 150 people that evening -- filling Newman Hall at St. Paul's to capacity.
St. Paul's sent a total of $4,061 to Catholic Relief Services, including donations from a second collection during January and the $1,534 donated at the Haitian dinner and fasting event.