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From Southwestern With Love

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    Southwestern students Ellen Hoyere, Evan Schmitt, Colin McCulloch, Forest Baker and Tony Pollreisz stand with some of the food that was purchased for the Caring Place with money donated by Southwestern students on Valentine's Day. At left is Southwestern graduate Lindsey Chapman, who works as a client services specialist at the Caring Place and in the back is David Earl, donations manager for the Caring Place.
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    Members of Don Gregory's Paideia group work with members of the men's soccer team to load food for distribution to the Caring Place.
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Paideia group organizes program to provide food to needy residents on Valentine’s Day

This year, Valentine’s Day at Southwestern University will be less about chocolate and roses, and more about what it means to help those who are less fortunate.

On Feb. 14, Southwestern students will have the opportunity to donate a meal from their meal plan to provide food for needy people in Georgetown.

The program has been organized by students in Don Gregory’s Paideia group in cooperation with Southwestern’s food service provider, Sodexo. Organizers are calling it the “One Swipe” program.

Students will be asked to swipe their meal card at the Commons between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and then leave and eat somewhere else. For those without a meal plan, Pirate Buc$ will be accepted, as well as cash donations.

Sodexo will tally the value of the meals donated and then match each contribution. They will make a food contribution valued at the total amount to the Caring Place.

“The idea behind the date is to ask people to stop and think that Valentine’s Day is not just about a loved one – it is also about showing some love to perhaps one, and, sadly, many, who are unloved,” Gregory said.

Gregory’s Paideia group is organized around the theme of “Coping with Social Responsibility.”

The group has worked closely with the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA), where their primary focus has been human trafficking. Through their studies as a group, they have discovered the risks of the poor and marginalized population falling into the traps of human trafficking systems. This also have learned that many people in Georgetown, including an estimated 200 students in the Georgetown ISD, are currently listed as homeless.

Members of the Coping with Social Responsibility Paideia group are Alex Barnes, Kayla Bogs, Briana Garcia, Ellen Hoyer, Rachel Nowlain, Tony Pollreisz and Evan Schmitt.

“The program we are offering is so simple, yet profoundly impacting,” Gregory said. “We might never see the kids or families who ultimately will be enjoying the extra meals. But the gesture of swiping can produce a tremendous amount of spiritual fulfillment and purpose. It is certainly an activity the entire school can feel proud to promote.”

− Rosalie Bonner