St. Bonaventure students receiving recognition for serving meals to community members

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OLEAN, N.Y. (WIVB) — Six days a week, the kitchen at the Warming House is buzzing with people peeling carrots, boiling water, and cooking rolls. They’re doing that in between the time they’re writing papers, calculating equations, and cramming for finals.

All of the volunteers at the soup kitchen are students from St. Bonaventure.

“The students are the heart of the Warming House,” said Carrie Wolfe, the president of the advisory counsel for the soup kitchen. “It wouldn’t exist without the students and St. Bonaventure.”

The student volunteers are receiving an award from the Greater Olean Area Churches, recognizing their commitment to serving the community since 1974. That’s when Bonnies began organizing, cooking, and serving meals each night to as many as 60 people from the city who rely on the kitchen.

Each night, coordinators plan and prepare a complete meal for those who are hungry. Sometimes, five people show up, others 50.

“I love that Bonaventure has something like this,” said Jessica Cason, a student at St. Bonaventure.

Cason is receiving her MBA, taking four classes, working a part-time job and yet, still finds around 10 hours each week to spend at the Warming House.

“It’s time management,” she says, laughing, adding she sometimes feels overwhelmed. “I have a calendar in my phone, another in my book bag. I just make sure work and classes and other activities never interfere.”

Cason says she never thought about lightening up her schedule, reducing the amount of time spent volunteering, because she believes, she’s the one who is benefiting from being here.

“You realize how lucky you are to have a home and a meal.”

The award ceremony is taking place at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, January 28, in the University Chapel. It’s open to the public.

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