By Sophie Crispin, Transcript Correspondent
Amato’s served up philanthropy money for HaitiOWU last Thursday.
HaitiOWU, a student organization that partners with the Pwoje Espwa (Project Hope) orphanage in Les Cayes, Haiti, held a fundraiser at Amato’s Woodfire Pizza, located on Sandusky Street.
They asked students and faculty to visit Amato’s for dinner and state they wanted to donate to HaitiOWU with their order.
15 percent of their meal cost was then given to the organization, which houses 800 children and provides them with housing, food, clothes, health care and education.
Senior Shane Wepprich traveled to Pwoje Espwa last year and was a part of the fundraising effort.
“We take no profit and give 100 percent of all donations to the orphanage,” he said. “Everyone that came to Amatos and supported HaitiOWU, gave 15 (percent) of their bill directly to the children of Pwoje Espwa.”
The students first came together last spring in preparation for their initial visit to Pwoje Espwa in May and have worked to continue fostering a connection with the orphanage since returning to campus.
“Our goal is to create a long-term relationship to help the orphanage become self-reliant, and to provide Pwoje Espwa with their immediate needs,” Wepprich said.
Sophomore Katalyn Kuivila attended the fundraising dinner after seeing a flyer on campus and thinking it was a worthwhile organization to sponsor.
“I think it’s very important because they want to establish a long-term relationship (with Pwoje Espwa),” Kuivila said. “I think it’s great that they’ll keep sending students and giving them experience.”
Dorota Kendrick, assistant director of International and Off-Campus Programs, was one of the faculty advisors for the trip to Haiti. Planning this fundraiser has been one of the many ways HaitiOWU has shown their continued dedication to Pwoje Espwa since returning.
“This group of students has shown so much commitment since coming back,” Kendrick said. “The passion is still there, the excitement is still there.”
Kuivila likens the work HaitiOWU does to spring break mission trips.
“I attended a mission trip this spring, and it was a great experience,” she said. “I think that HaitiOWU is providing students with the same type of thing.”
Both Kendrick and Wepprich say that HaitiOWU hopes to continue growing their relationship with Pwoje Espwa, and to build support here on campus with projects like the Amato’s fundraiser.
“I would love to see this continue to blossom,” said Kendrick. “I think liberal arts students have so much to offer because of their different majors and interests. It’s one of the strengths we have here at Ohio Wesleyan.”
HaitiOWU is currently reapplying for a TiPiT grant to fund a tentatively-planned revisit to the orphanage in mid-August. Applications to be part of the team are being accepted until April 6.