‘Raising’ the Stakes to End Hunger

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The Student Leadership Council selects an organization each year to raise money for the Homecoming fundraiser. The Council wants students to become passionate about the fundraiser and rally around the organization. Students found creative ways to raise money, such as food trucks, car washes and even hot air balloon rides.

Past fundraisers have included Switch, a nonprofit that works to end sex trafficking in the Upstate, and Let There be Mom, a nonprofit that preserves the legacy of families with life-threatening illnesses. This year, they chose Rice Bowls, a faith-based nonprofit that provides meals to children’s homes across the world.

Selecting the Organization

Abbie Rocha, Community Service Council director, played a significant role in selecting this organization. Her heart has always been for kids that don’t have the chance to hear the Gospel. Rice Bowls offers a way for her to help. “Filling one rice bowl, we can feed one child for a whole month,” Rocha said. She has shown her enthusiasm for this fundraiser through social media, chapel announcements and campus events.

Rice Bowls was founded in 1980 with rice — a universal staple — as the focal point of its meals. Not only does the organization provide hot and healthy meals for children, but it also provides a supervised home for orphaned kids, the teaching of God’s Word and career training. Many of these children come from abusive or neglectful homes and have nowhere to turn. Rice Bowls steps in for as many children as it can.

Rice Bowls has partnered with children’s homes in countries such as India, Africa, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Philippines.

Judah Smith, the men’s student body president, said the SLC chose Rice Bowls because “we want to partner with other Christians across the globe as they seek to help children as they grow into tomorrow’s leaders.”  Rice Bowls prides itself on helping orphaned kids make a name for themselves in careers such as chefs, engineers, teachers and ministers. Having the chance to partner with an organization that has had an impact across the world offers a unique giving opportunity to BJU students.

Raising the Funds

To kick off Homecoming week, the SLC sold “Homestaying” shirts to students. Throughout the week, students had other opportunities to give. Concessions were sold at movie nights, prayer nights and the Homecoming soccer games. Each residence hall also had a collection box for students to slip money in. Students also volunteered for the faculty/staff car wash, which was free with optional donations. Finally, students signed up for the greatly anticipated “Run for Rice” 5K color run and enjoyed a scenic route of campus as they were splashed with color.

Celebrating at Home

Homecoming typically bridges the gap between BJU and the Greenville community. It’s a unique way to share the University’s testimony to hundreds of families with activities such as U.Day, the M&G Makers Market and live musical performances from the BJUgrass. Every event gives the students, faculty and staff a way to mingle and rub shoulders with the greater Greenville community.

Sadly, there was no rubbing of shoulders this year due to COVD-19. Instead, the University created a virtual Homecoming for families to still get a taste of campus life through a screen. No, it was not the same, but that just means it will definitely be marked as the most unique Homecoming BJU has ever hosted.

If you would like to donate to Rice Bowls or get more information, visit ricebowls.org.