The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Dining funds plunge

A local Applebee’s hosted “Dining to Donate” on March 14, as one of the several fundraising efforts for the annual Campus Ministry Panama Plunge.

Ten percent of every bill went toward the plunge, raising $207.86. In order for the plunge program to benefit from a meal, diners had to show their server a flyer that was passed around the University in the days leading up to the fundraiser.

On March 18 Student Life held a luncheon celebrating the Saints day of St. Joseph. Almost $600 was raised through raffles and donations, which will also benefit the trip.

Fifteen students from the University will be going to Panama from May 14-26 to help assist under privileged families.

John Kenny, a junior, was one of the students who helped organized the event and will be taking part in this May’s plunge. Kenny said the idea for the Applebee’s fundraiser came during a planning session with the other students participating in the plunge.

“We were in a brainstorming session trying to come up with fundraisers, and one of the people had done this before,” he said. “So we figured, why not?”

When Applebee’s was approached with the idea, Kenny said the response from the restaurant management was positive. “They were pretty receptive to it,” he said.

“Obviously they’re getting increased revenue and minus the cost of printing up the flyers, it’s essentially free money for us,” he said.

In addition to “Dining to Donate,” Kenny said many of the students  reached out to family and friends for donations, as well as other fundraisers around the school, including recycling.

“We’ve also been collecting cans and bottles and recycling them,” he said.

Father Tri Duong C.M. started the Panama Plunge program shortly after being assigned to the University in 2005. Duong said the University wanted him to expand the Plunge program to other countries. Duong said he knew a Vincentian priest in Panama who was his classmate and called him to start the program.

The purpose of the event, Duong described, was for one to step out of his or her comfort zone and learn about a different culture. Students are partnered with a host family for the time there. “Obviously there are no hotels in the mountains,” Duong said. “So two students are paired with one family.”

While with their host families, students will be expected to complete daily chores that might range from farm work to construction projects. “Really it’s whatever the family needs,” Duong explained. “It’s a lot of group projects like finishing houses or schools and the chapels up there.”

Kenny said part of the reason why he wanted to go to Panama was because he wanted to find a way to help those in need. “In my time at St. John’s my eyes have been opened to many of the social injustices of the world,” he said. “So I wanted to get more involved in trying to help out.”

The students participating in the plunge had to pay a small deposit fee, according to Kenny. He said that the purpose of this and other fundraisers was so that fee would, hopefully, be the only amount of money they’d have to pay for the trip.

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Anthony O'Reilly, News Editor
Anthony has been one of the most, if not the most, loyal person at this paper. His passion and his dedication to reporting and production is unparalleled. In the last few weeks, he has demonstrated the qualities of a leader and a coach that are required for this position. I have nothing but confidence that Anthony will do a great job. He will serve you, the reader, by providing the most honest, objective news possible. —Terence Cullen News Editor, Emeritus

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