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Ambrose Students Support Meal Site

March 2011

What do you get when you combine the Super Bowl, a team-building graduate course and a community mealsite?

When it came time to decide where to donate the proceeds of "The Big Game" (Super Bowl) party, it was unanimous.

"We all looked at each other and said the same thing–Café on Vine," says Alan Hartley, Cosgrove Hall Director.

Cosgrove staff had raised $2,075 from the party and raffle and wanted it to go where it could be well-used. Hartley had volunteered at the Café on Vine mealsite twice before as a student in the Master of Organizational Leadership (MOL) program and as a member of the Davenport Jaycees. "We all knew that Café on Vine was something good, right here in our community," Hartley says.

Serving approximately 55,000 individual meals to its "guests" each year, Café on Vine relies heavily on donated food and volunteer assistance. St. Ambrose students, faculty and staff have been involved with the lunch mealsite since its inception in 2007, and long before with its predecessor, the John Lewis Coffee Shop. In fact, when John Lewis closed its doors, it was Father Marvin Mottet, alum John Kiley, and Associate Professor of Leadership Dan Ebener, who stepped forward as part of Thomas Merton House, Inc. to help form the replacement Café on Vine mealsite that exists today.

"The Ambrose community has always been involved at the Davenport mealsite, whatever its name," says Ebener. Students have volunteered as members of numerous clubs and groups, through service learning, during fall semester's Urban Plunge–and some, simply on their own, according to Campus Ministry's Stella O'Rourke.

In a "perfect storm" of donation and service, students from the St. Ambrose MOL and MBA programs happened to be cooking and serving in the Café on  the day of the check presentation. A weeklong elective, MOL 557 Team-Building was being taught by Dan Ebener and Randy Richards. Days one through three of the innovative course had involved formational activities to build cohesion, an injection of conflict, and instruction in conflict resolution skills. On day four, student teams went into the community to perform hands-on public service.

Sister "Ruthie" Westmoreland of Café on Vine was very pleased to receive both the generous contribution and the service of the MOL and MBA team of volunteers.

"This is great," she said, with a big smile. "We're very appreciative." And smiles graced the faces of volunteers, donors and guests too, as they all shared a meal together, the Café on Vine way.

MORE LIKE THIS:AmbroseZine, Community Service

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