Christ.  Scholarship.  Service.

Students raise funds for Rice Bowls with A.J.‘s Diner

Huntington, Ind.-Seven Huntington University students have raised funds to help provide food for orphaned children across the globe.

A group of students, including Abe Janson, Adam Atkins, Brad Kunze, James Holliday, Andrew Honeycutt, Matthew Siewert and Taylor Zeman, came up with an idea early in the spring semester to hold an event called "A.J.'s Diner" every other Saturday throughout the semester. Using the slogan, "dinner after dark, breakfast before bed," the group served eggs, bacon, toast, pancakes and juice to other students. Within a short period of time, they had approximately 100 people attending.

"We did this so that we could get people together and relax while we served them," said Zeman, a senior recreation and sports ministry major from Beavercreek, Ohio. "Tips were collected as a means to keep us funded."

Toward the end of the semester, however, Zeman saw an ad in a magazine for Rice Bowls. Rice Bowls is a faith-based, non-profit organization that collects money for orphanages, particularly those in India, Haiti and Sub-Saharan Africa that have been affected by the HIV/AIDS crisis. The organization was founded by Dr. Alastair Walker, the pastor of a church in Spartanburg, S.C., in 1980, after he saw firsthand the desperate situations of developing countries. Since its founding, Rice Bowls has collected tens of millions of dollars to help ease world hunger.

Zeman sent in for the bowls and received a box of 50. During the next A.J.'s Diner event, which happened to be the second to last event of the semester, the team handed out the bowls and asked everyone to take one and bring it to the last event, just a few days before finals, full of change.

The last A.J.'s Diner dinner was set up outside as a cookout with a bonfire, live music, hot dogs, hamburgers and chips, and a collection box was set up for students to drop off the rice bowls. The students raised $381.92.

"We were glad to be able to take advantage of the stage that A.J.'s Diner created and to do something with a purpose," Zeman said. "God provided a means for us to promote awareness of a global issue as well as allowing us to follow through with an actual donation."

The team plans to continue A.J.'s Diner and collaborating with Rice Bowls again in the fall.