Three seniors took action at the beginning of the school year to help ensure healthy food would be available for those in need through current national nutritional programs. For their effort, Kat Dranchak '16, Amanda Draeger '16 and Michaela Linehan '16 will be recognized during the Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley 2015 Speaker Series Event: Having Faith, Ending Hunger with Rev. David Beckmann.
"The fact that this group chose this topic says a lot for high school students," said Director of Ministry & Service and capstone group mentor Kelli Kinnear. "They are aware of this issue and they feel passionately enough that they want to advocate for change."
The trio reached out to CJ faculty and staff in September, asking them to sign letters encouraging congress members to renew federal programs that supply meals to eligible children and the WIC program for pregnant and new mothers. The outreach was in correlation to Pope Francis' call to end hunger by 2025 and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati's ongoing Food for All campaign.
"I think it was a good kickoff to our capstone," said Draeger. "I feel good advocating for something that we're passionate about and that we're going to look more into."
"It wasn't something that took a lot of time, but the impact is large," Linehan remarked.
The seniors said the culmination of their capstone project will be transcribing and distributing healthy meal recipes to The Foodbank. The group said they chose to focus their capstone on this topic because they each have a desire to make healthy food accessible to everyone.
"I want to study dietetics," shared Dranchak. "I hope others see how lucky we are to get healthy food and how we can help those who are less fortunate."
Draeger agreed, "I would like to study food sciences or dietetics. I've also volunteered at The Foodbank and see Dayton has a need for more accessible healthy food."
"My mom teaches Kindergarten and while teaching last summer, she gave a peach to a student who had never had one before," shared Linehan. "Many of us take this stuff for granted."
During the summer, the group began working on their capstone project by attending a presentation by an author who specializes in making meals for $5 or less.
"We talked to the author and are going to share some of the recipes that have healthy food, but don't require a large amount of ingredients," said Dranchak.
Kinnear called the group's mission life changing.
"They are going out, going to speakers, going to workshops, and advocating to Congress," Kinnear expressed. "They would not have done this if the capstone didn't exists. I think this is one of the wonderful reasons for the capstone project, because it offers these opportunities that students wouldn't of had before."
You can learn more here about the 2015 Speaker Series event where the capstone group will be honored.
(Update: 10/22: Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, met with two of the capstone group members, pictured below during the Speaker Series.)