KU social work students host Shop & Dine for hurricane victims

Social Workers and Advocates of Kutztown University hosted Shop, Dine, and Donate fundraiser for hurricane victims Sept. 23. SWAK  president Julia Laudadio, right, and Kutztown Community Partner manager Maggie Stange, center, promoted the fundraiser at KU Peace Day Sept. 21.
Social Workers and Advocates of Kutztown University hosted Shop, Dine, and Donate fundraiser for hurricane victims Sept. 23. SWAK president Julia Laudadio, right, and Kutztown Community Partner manager Maggie Stange, center, promoted the fundraiser at KU Peace Day Sept. 21. Lisa Mitchell - Digital First Media

Social Workers and Advocates of Kutztown University hosted Shop, Dine, and Donate fundraiser for hurricane victims in September.

“As the president of the Social Workers and Advocates at Kutztown University (SWAK), I felt that my student organization could bring the community of Kutztown together to help other communities that have been devastated by hurricanes,” said KU social work sophomore Julia Laudadio, the student coordinator of the Shop, Dine, and Donate fundraiser. “The fundraiser was highly successful! The community of Kutztown really came together.”

KU faculty member Heather LaBarre asked Laudadio what SWAK was doing to help Hurricane Harvey victims a couple days before Hurricane Irma hit Florida. The next day, Laudadio wrote a proposal for a community-wide “Shop, Dine, and Donate” on Sept. 23. Participating local businesses donated a percentage of their profits to SWAK, and SWAK donated 100 percent of those proceeds to two organizations that provide disaster relief.

“The two organizations SWAK chose were All Hands Volunteers, a national disaster relief organization in the U.S., and Save the Children, an international organization providing disaster relief for families and children to areas not limited to mainland U.S.” said Laudadio.

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Laudadio reached out to Main Street businesses and Kutztown Community Partnership manager Maggie Stange.

“I hoped that the KCP could help spread the word about our fundraising event, and of course they did! The KCP created an event on Facebook for the event. Being that this is the first fundraiser I’ve ever coordinated, I’ve found that networking is a very important part of fundraising,” said Laudadio.

Participating businesses included Paisley & Company, Firefly Bookstore, Grab N’ Go, K’Town Pub, Betty’s, Pop’s Malt Shoppe, Hive, Tommyboy’s Pizza and Cafe, Mamma’s Pizza, Bone’s Pizza, and Mr. Food. Social Workers and Advocates of Kutztown raised $1,749.75.

“I’m so proud of my community. I know that many people want to help when these kinds of disasters happen, but a personal donation can be a heavy task, and in-kind donations can be almost impossible when we live so far away. I organized this fundraiser to be a simple way that we can help communities in need,” said Laudadio.

About the Author

Lisa Mitchell

Lisa Mitchell is the editor of The Kutztown Patriot and Managing Editor of Berks-Mont Newspapers. Reach the author at lmitchell@berksmontnews.com or follow Lisa on Twitter: @kutztownpatriot.