The Student Nonprofit Alliance (SNA) is holding two donation events this month to support hurricane relief organizations and the sponsorship of Baby Hope from the Hekima Place in Kenya.
In response to the destruction of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the SNA and Student Government Association (SGA) organized an online giving website to assist those impacted in Houston and Florida.
According to Alice Del Vecchio, assistant professor of interdisciplinary programs and philanthropy and nonprofit management and SNA advisor, students in SNA and her nonprofit classes were willing to organize a campaign—which is now called The Rock Cares—for the campus.
“There was conversations with the university, conversations with SGA, we finally figured out the language and the logistics, and so that’s where The Rock Cares idea came from,” Del Vecchio said.
During the planning processes for The Rock Cares, Del Vecchio contacted Dallas Kline, a junior sports management major and the SGA vice president of campus outreach. Kline said that SGA became “the voice” behind the The Rock Cares by using social media marketing promotion to student senators to make the donation campaign an opportunity for anyone on campus to donate.
“Through us, we can get the word out to most clubs,” Kline said.
Those interested in making a monetary donation can go to www.srufoundation.org/snahurricane and choose to donate to Catholic Charities, Red Cross or Salvation Army. Each donation will be split equally to benefit the local organizations in Houston and Florida.
As of Sept. 21, $920 was raised for The Rock Cares, $480 of which was raised by the Rotaract Club at VillageFest. The online giving website will be open until Sept. 29. Additionally, the women’s field hockey team will raise money at the home game against Shippensburg University on Oct. 7 for The Rock Cares.
SNA will host a thank-you celebration on Oct. 12 to announce the final value raised.
The SNA will also host a Birthday Bash to celebrate Baby Hope, a Kenyan baby sponsored by SNA, and raise money for her sponsorship on Sept. 28 in the quad during common hour.
SNA representatives were first introduced to Baby Hope while on a trip to Kenya in January 2017. The students visited the Hekima Place, a house in Kiserian for orphan girls whose parents died or abandoned them. While at the Hekima Place, students spent time with the girls by helping with homework, eating with them and completing projects.
Madison Roxbury, a junior integrated marketing communications and nonprofit management dual major and SNA director of external affairs, attended the trip to Kenya last year and was one of the SNA representatives who first discussed sponsoring Baby Hope, the youngest girl at the Hekima Place.
“I only heard that baby cry one time out of the 10 days we were there. She was the best baby I’ve ever seen. She was so sweet and anyone could hold her,” Roxbury said.
After the trip, the SNA sponsored Baby Hope, the only child in the Hekima Place without a sponsorship. Baby Hope’s sponsorship is $750 per year.
To raise the money needed for the sponsorship, the SNA will host a new or gently-used shoe collection at the quad during the Birthday Bash. From 11-3, students and faculty can donate shoes at the gazebo.
After the event, Funds2Orgs will take the shoes to process them. Funds2Orgs will give SNA 40 cents per pound of shoes donated, and the shoes will then be sent to the company headquarters in Orlando, Florida before going to developing countries. Del Vecchio said that 9,989 pairs of shoes, the same number of students and faculty members at SRU, will pay for a two-year sponsorship.
Along with the shoe collection, the Birthday Bash during common hour will feature a giant card for attendees to sign for Baby Hope, birthday cake and an appearance from Kate Fletcher, director of the Hekima Place. The long-term goal for SNA is to make the Birthday Bash an annual event to raise money for Baby Hope’s sponsorship every September.
“Imagine that you’re a little child in Kenya and, [Baby Hope] won’t know it this year, but she will, and you know that there are thousands of students halfway around the world celebrating you,” Del Vecchio said.