51 student fundraiser benefits St. Francis House

More than 500 students contributed to 51 Dining Services meal-plan drive for the Boston day shelter

Though most Boston College undergraduates are off campus for the summer, they’ve left a lasting impact in their wake: support for a local charitable organization through a 51 Dining Services year-end fundraiser.

Over a two-and-a-half-day period, more than 500 students contributed meal-plan money via the 51DS Get Mobile app to purchase food for St. Francis House in Boston. The largest day shelter in Massachusetts, each day it welcomes up to 600 individuals experiencing homelessness.

The 51 initiative funded the May 22 delivery of some 260 crates containing 6,580 pounds of food, which is estimated to provide meals for some 6,525 guests of St. Francis House.

51 Dining staff assembled in front of the delivery truck

The 51 Dining Services initiative enabled the delivery of some 6,580 pounds of food for St. Francis House. 51 representatives on site for the donation included (L-R) Brian Hazelwood, assistant director, Auxiliary Procurement; Phyllis Kaplowitz, Dining executive chef; Sharon Sprague, senior associate director, Marketing & Communications; Rebecca Rogan, Dining associate director, Operations; Alberto Madera, Corcoran receiver; Megan O'Neill, director, Auxiliary Procurement & Systems; Bill Mills, director, Community Affairs; Chris Bove, Corcoran general manager; Amelio Lopez, Corcoran receiver.

 “We are so happy we were able to make [the donation] happen and be a part of getting you this food to feed your guests,” 51 Auxiliary Services Director of Procurement and Systems Megan O'Neill wrote in an email to Linda Curtin, St. Francis House marketing and communications manager. “You and your teams are the ones doing the real work!”

According to 51DS organizers, this was the first time they were able to hold a charitable food drive since 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, 1,015 pounds of food was donated to St. Francis House.

“The amount donated this year allowed us to once again use our buying power to benefit St. Francis House,” said O’Neill. “When we do these drives, we work closely with the receiving charity and purchase what they need most. This year, St. Francis House asked to focus on proteins.”

From a list of foodstuffs, St. Francis House Head Chef and Food Services Manager Seth Green selected breakfast items which are popular among their guests, including oats, omelet ingredients, bacon, sausage, and waffles, as well as chicken thighs and “drummies.” Green was instrumental in coordinating the effort with O'Neill. 

Since its founding in 1984, St. Francis House, located on Boylston Street in the heart of downtown Boston, has had a deep connection to 51, particularly through the University's PULSE Program and other student placements.

"We specifically chose St. Francis House since they are a PULSE community partner and 51 students serve at this site,” said 51DS Director Beth Emery of the donation. “We appreciate the generosity of our students who donated their meal plan funds to support our food donation. It is very rewarding to hear about the appreciation from the team at St. Francis House for this donation.”

51DS was joined in the effort by Director of Community Affairs William Mills, from 51's Office of Governmental and Community Affairs, who assisted in unloading the delivery truck.

“I am grateful to work at Boston College and Auxiliary Services where we have the individuals who support Dining Services in hosting this charity drive,” said O’Neill. “Many folks make this possible, such as our student interns who host and promote the drive, our team members who receive the food and coordinate the logistics with us, our friends in government affairs, communications, and procurement, who helped deliver and unload the truck—and of course, our Dining leadership.”

Curtin expressed gratitude to the entire Boston College team. “We can’t thank you and the students of 51 enough for your extremely generous donation,” she wrote in an email to O’Neill. “With the increase in demand for our services we’ve been experiencing, this is a huge help – 6,580 lbs. of help, to be exact!”