I am proud to present Catie Chatowsky and Eileen Holovac as the recipients of this year’s Martin Luther King Peacemaker Award. The URI Chaplains Association voted to make this award to them in honor of Catie and Eileen’s advocacy for students with food insecurity, evidencing their commitment to justice and equality in the spirit of Dr. King.
Catie is a sophomore from Lincoln, Rhode Island in the doctor of pharmacy program and is working on a minor in biology. Eileen is a sophomore from Rockville, Maryland also in the doctor of pharmacy program and is additionally working on a major in French. Both Catie and Eileen are students in the honor’s program and it is through one of their honors classes that they began the ongoing project of creating a food pantry on URI’s campus for students in need. In their class they learned that many other colleges had already begun food pantries for students because the last problem college students should be facing is food insecurity.
Catie and Eileen felt that helping even one college student at URI would make this project worthwhile and they have definitely exceeded that goal. Both girls work together with a group of volunteers that they have gathered to plan meetings, organize paperwork, and prep the food pantry. They worked hard to clean out an old room in St. Augustine’s church and bring it to life with fresh coats of bright Rhody Blue paint in order to make the pantry feel welcoming to any student who may enter it.
Catie and Eileen would not have been able to accomplish this project alone and on their behalf they have invited me to thank the Rhode Island Food Bank, the Johnnycake Center, St. Augustine’s parish, President Dooley, Mrs. Lynn Baker Dooley, Vice President Tom Dougan, URI’s Clearing House for Volunteers and its Director Sarah Miller, its Coordinator Majay Charley, and all of the wonderful volunteers of the Rhody Outpost. Finally Catie and Eileen offer their thanks to the Multicultural Center and the URI Chaplin’s Association for this award today.