By Patricia Brennan
For one week in October, the University of Dallas campus was filled with people darting around with water guns, teddy bear-clad students tucking in their classmates and members of the UD community standing atop the jail reciting speeches. At the heart of these events, however, are the charities that are affected by the donations from these activities.
UD’s annual Charity Week raised $24,685.52 this year, one of the highest totals in UD history, according to Stephen Thie, one of the junior co-chairs.
The university’s first Charity Week raised a total of $1,300. During the past three years, the university raised $18,010.16, $19,883.56 and $18,410 respectively.
The money raised during this year’s Charity Week will be distributed to three different charities: Mary’s Meals, The Guiding Star Project and The Arc of Texas.
The most monetarily successful event was the jail, which, despite the controversy surrounding it, brought in a total of $7,225.83. This year’s Male Auction was also extremely successful with $6,525 raised, a record amount made at the event.
The money will be divided evenly among the three charities. The sponsored charities were chosen by Thie and his fellow junior co-chair, Jacob Loel.
Traditionally, Charity Week has donated proceeds to at least one pro-life charity, which is why The Guiding Star Project, a Texas-based organization that seeks to create a more pro-life culture and to assist women considering abortions, was chosen.
The other two charities were chosen individually by Thie and Loel, who wanted to help families with disabilities and those suffering from hunger.
“We are focusing on the value of human life in our charities,” said Loel in a previous interview with the University News. “So, before, the kind of call of Charity Week was ‘For the babies.’ We are a Catholic school. We are pro-life. But we are looking at pro-life in a broader sense in that it’s no longer just ‘stop abortion.’ We do have an anti-abortion charity, but we also are supporting other parts of human life. So it’s not just the birth part, it’s from birth until natural death.”
The Arc of Texas charity works with people who have disabilities, providing services such as health care and therapy. Established in 1950, the foundation accepts donations of money, clothing, household items and vehicles.
“I hope [the money raised by UD] will help us fulfil our mission which is to create opportunities for those with mental and developmental disabilities,” Carolin Stocker, executive assistant for The Arc of Texas, stated.
Mary’s Meals is an organization dedicated to providing meals for school children in some of the poorest parts of the world. The charity operates in Africa, Bosnia, Ecuador, Haiti and parts of Asia. The charity works to feed children who attend school.
“Every donation is really valuable and important,” Patricia Decker, Mary’s Meals USA coordinator, stated. “It only takes $19.50 to feed a child for a whole school year. We want to reach more children in school settings, and we are so grateful for every donation we receive.”
Beyond the monetary donations made to the sponsored charities, Decker stressed something else important to the mission of Charity Week: word of mouth.
“We love the fact that young people want to get involved and they spread it from their schools back to their homes. It is wonderful to see how it continues,” Decker said. “So many more people learn about us. We rely on that, we don’t pay for advertising.”
This was the first year the university donated to the Arc of Texas and Mary’s Meals. Both representatives stated that they would be grateful to receive the university’s assistance in the future.
“We really appreciate that we were picked as a beneficiary, so we would definitely be happy to be sponsored in [Charity Week] again,” Stocker said.