Cranking up the HEAT for homeless shelters

March 18, 2015

How long does it take to make a thousand pizzas?



For the Catholic Student Association, it only takes about 20 minutes. The student organization worked this St. Patrick’s Day to end hunger as part of their annual HEAT event, also known as Hunger Elimination for All Toledoans.


“We’re trying to end Toledo-wide hunger for a day,” said Kristy Kagy, a sophomore majoring in exercise science and a member of the CSA Sojourner Committee.


According to Kagy, the Sojourner Committee is made up of 3 student members from the CSA’s Newman Board who are elected into the position to run all social justice and community events put on by the group.


“What this [HEAT] is is an exaggerated Pizza for the Poor,” said Pam Meseroll, one of the advisors for the committee and a pastoral administrator for the Corpus Christi University Parish.


For HEAT, the committee hoped to make at least 1,000 pizzas in about 20 minutes.


“Instead of making 40 pizzas we make 1,000. We get to cover a lot more shelters. The goal of Pizza for the Poor is just like giving something to a local shelter. This event we try to feed everyone for a day,” said Brandon O’Shaughnessy, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, who is also a member of the Sojourner Committee.


They are able to do this by having different groups of students work in a row, assembling pizzas and wrapping them to be given out to various shelters across Toledo where they will be frozen.


“It’s like an assembly line,” Kagy said.


Students were able to sign up their groups or individuals for the event through a Google Doc found on the organization’s myUT page. There were about 8 to 10 students per table.


At the event the students signed in and were shown their table, where they worked to create the pizzas and listened to two different speakers.


Mike Sofo, owner of Sofo Foods, donated all the supplies for the event. He and University of Toledo Interim President Nagi Naganathan spoke briefly on the impact the event has made, according to O’Shaughnessy.

The event has been going on for over 30 years, according to Meseroll, and their group has never had an issue with finding students to come and help.


“It’s meant to be a quick event where people come, see what we do, do a little bit of service,” O’Shaughnessy said. “It just gives them a chance to get involved.”


Griso Barrios, a second-year double-majoring in political science and social work, said the group exceeded their original prediction.


“We made a little over 1,000 pizzas,” Barrios said. “We were planning on making only 1,000, but I think each table had two extra, so just a little bit over.”


Barrios also said that some of the shelters they were delivering their pizzas to were asking for over 100 pizzas and some only requested around 30.


“It’s something that takes 10 minutes of our time,” O’Shaughnessy said. “Just to see how happy they are for those pizzas is awesome.”

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