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SB Fundraiser Helps Sayville Soup Kitchen

Sayville soup kitchen
Sayville Soup Kitchen
Inn Director Steffen Utne (far left) and incoming Director Sonny Greco (far right) with Laura Valente, Beth McGuire, Gerald Stannard and Celeste Demby. Photo by Michael C. Savino

A $5,000 donation made by Stony Brook University Campus Residences “Tis the Season” campaign will help pay for required kitchen improvements at Sayville’s Having Friends Inn, a Long Island soup kitchen that serves dinner four nights a week to about 50 people each night.

After kitchen safety problems limited the Inn’s menu options, organizers of the soup kitchen made a public plea to raise $11,000 for necessary improvements, which was reported in a January Sayville-Bayport Patch. Private donations started coming in, raising about half the money needed.

Laura Valente, dean of Residential Education and director of Residential Programs, read the Patch article and knew that she could help make a difference through “Tis the Season, which usually raises $20,000 that gets distributed to various local charities.

“This year we hit our mark and exceeded it [to $31,000],” said Valente’s coworker, Beth McGuire. “When we started this fundraiser 10 years ago, we set our goal to raise one dollar for every resident student. That was about 7,500 students. Now, we have roughly 10,000 and to raise three times that number really says a lot about our students’ efforts.”

“Even in these hard economic times, we still pushed to make our goals,” said fellow-coworker Gerald Stannard. “We worked to get more students on board and get more departments on board.

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