A new service-oriented club has joined the roster of similar endeavors at Chestnut Hill College, and its name comes from the very aid it provides to the greater community — peanut butter.
PB@CHC makes bagged lunches for the hungry in the local community. Lydia DiMattia ’17 started the club after she and other students in the interdisciplinary honors program decided they wanted to do something to help the community.
DiMattia said that she got the concept for the club from an activity she did when she was younger. “In elementary and middle school my church youth group would get together on Thursday nights and make PB&J sandwiches for the needy,” she says.
When DiMattia came to the College, she observed that there were some service clubs on campus that were moved to help the national or global community but not many that assisted locally. “I wanted to create one that specifically focused on the Philadelphia area,” she adds.
The club provides an opportunity for students to serve the greater Philadelphia area without having to leave campus, other than shopping for groceries. “Our club is small and we realize we cannot feed our entire nation,” DiMattia says. “However, if we can help 60 people every two weeks, then that is fine with me.”
Colleen Gibson, SSJ, assistant director of campus ministry, says that DiMattia came to her looking for help formalizing the club’s logistics. Gibson helped them turn their idea into a reality. After the club makes the bagged lunches, Campus Ministry transports them to either the soup kitchen or the grade school at Our Mother of Sorrows, a Catholic parish in West Philadelphia.
Around 10 or more students attend the meetings and members come from different social circles on campus. “The most interesting thing about the club,” Gibson says, “is that different students, whether in the honor’s program or athletics, are able to get together to give their time doing a basic thing that helps people.”
The club meets twice a month on Thursday nights in Fitzsimmons Lounge, where members work at different stations to decorate bags, make the sandwiches and pack the lunches. They label the bags with its ingredients, which often include a water bottle, piece of fruit, a snack and an inspirational quote taped to each wrapped sandwich.
Students also make variations of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich using different jellies, marshmallow fluff, hazelnut spread and different kinds of bread. The peanut butter is mixed up as well to include creamy, crunchy and non-peanut peanut butter for people with allergies.
“We believe that it is important to uphold the mission of the College in all aspects of our lives,” DiMattia says, “and PB@CHC is one way that we exemplify how one can assist our dear neighbor.”
—Nick Kowalski ’16