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Student group Project Feed Me hosts ‘Defend Your Honor’ charity basketball tournament Nov. 1 to fight hunger in Syracuse
Carol Kim Masiclat
Think of it as hoops for hope. On Sunday, Nov. 1, SU students, faculty and staff will compete for the title of champion in the 2009 “Defend Your Honor” basketball tournament. The event was organized by Project Feed Me, a student organization dedicated to addressing the problem of hunger in New York state. The tournament will take place from 1-6 p.m. in Archbold Gymnasium on the SU campus.
In its second year, “Defend Your Honor” is organized to raise money to purchase food that will be served at a Thanksgiving unity celebration on Nov. 22 at the Southwest Community Center in Syracuse. Proceeds from ticket sales and team registration fees will cover costs for the event. Ten to 15 men’s and women’s teams will participate in this day-long double elimination tournament. First place finishing teams will win a trophy and bragging rights. Members of the SU men’s basketball team will be on hand to referee the games and support the cause.
“Thanksgiving can be a wonderful time of year to spend time with family and friends to celebrate with a great, big meal,” says Patrick Alvarez, Project Feed Me president.“But for some people right here in our community, that kind of Thanksgiving is just a dream because they can’t afford decent meals on a daily basis, let alone a big Thanksgiving dinner. This is a fun way to help raise awareness and money for the work we do, and to make sure more people in our area can have a warm, happy Thanksgiving.”
Project Feed Me was started in 2008 by four then-first-year students: Alvarez, an Arts and Sciences student from New York City; Sam Giber, an Arts and Sciences and Whitman student from Boston; Leah Moushey, a College of Visual and Performing Arts student from Pittsburgh; and Harris Feldman, a Whitman student from Needham, Mass. They met the first week of school last year in Day Hall and discovered their common interest in activism and philanthropy. The four quickly got to work on what would become Project Feed Me’s first event–a turkey giveaway in Harlem, N.Y. Together, with help from friends and family, they provided frozen turkeys to more than 100 families. “It was beautiful,” says Alvarez. “Project Feed Me’s mantra is, ‘We can be a vessel of hope and faith; an instrument of productive change—in our community, free of hunger.’ And that’s exactly what we did that day. It really energized us to do more. We’re just getting started.”
This year, Project Feed Me has set its sights even higher, aiming to provide 350-400 nutritious meals to guests at its Syracuse Thanksgiving event. Project Feed Me has plans to provide entertainment at the event as well. Not only does Project Feed Me want to nourish bodies, it hopes to bring a sense of unity, love and trust to those who attend the event. “Lots of people in our communities have not felt unity, love and trust in a long time, because their environment has been so impacted by things like poverty, violence and drugs,” says Alvarez. “I hope we can change that, even for a few hours.”
“Defend Your Honor” teams must have members from the SU community and must register by Friday, Oct. 30. Registration fees are $10 per person, or $100 per team, regardless of team size. Project Feed Me also welcomes volunteers and donations for the event. For more information, contact Alvarez at firstname.lastname@example.org.