To share a meal
(Above) The Cursillo Men’s group and the Living Stones secular Franciscan fraternity helped to feed the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology Newman Center students.
The two groups are part of a list of volunteer organizations and families that currently volunteer to serve meals at the Newman Center during the school year. The tradition of providing a home cooked meal to the college students began when Jacques and Annie Daniel served at the Newman Center from 2002-2007, they lived in the old Newman Center building up the street from the post office. They shared the home with young students, many of them caring for their oldest kids when they were just infants. One of the more significant ministries in their time was feeding students after the Sunday evening Mass. Even after the building was condemned in the spring of 2005, the couple helped with Mass on campus and offered a meal afterward in the Surbeck center, cooking the large meal in their home with little kids and then hauling the meal to campus each weekend.
“After our time, meals were provided to students over the years through various means. Eventually a capital campaign was launched to provide the new building that stands today,” explained Jacques. “I know it was always a labor of love to provide a space and a home-cooked meal to students to draw them into the community life and liturgical life of the center.”
“When I began working as the part-time director of the Newman Center again in 2018, there were so many details involved in running the center that I knew I couldn’t devote the time needed to prepare a big meal every week. I started to reach out to families that were alumni or who had college-age students outside of the Rapid City area. I wanted to connect former alumni back into the Catholic campus community and also connect students with faithful families in area parishes that they might not meet any other way.”
Visiting with outside groups and alumni led Jacques to believe that there was an extensive enough list that it seemed possible that families could take on a meal once a semester or once a year. Rich and Susan Raposa, former SDSM&T students, thought it was important to serve the meal as a sit-down style family meal, one time cooking a pan of lasagna for each round table of eight chairs in the basement hall. As the center’s current director and an SDSM&T alumni, Frank Birkholt continues to reach out to families and groups in order to provide this critical service to the center and the students.
The Newman Center kitchen is stocked with basics, which volunteers are welcome to use. Meals can be donated or receipts can be turned in for reimbursement. Presently we feed about 60 students each Sunday.
The kitchen has one stove top with four burners, one oven, one convection oven, two dishwashers, roasters, crock pots, and various pots, pans, and utensils. There is a gas grill located outside the back door. Plates, silverware, cups, and serving trays and utensils are available. The Newman Center will provide basic drinks (water, juice). If there is a particular drink that matches your meal that you would like to plan for within the budget above, please do. Also, included on the form is a meal description so others who are planning future meals can ensure some variety.