Crowdfunding event raises microgrants for community organizations
By the University at Buffalo
Buffalo SOUP is back with another crowdfunding event scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Nov. 16 at Resurgence Brewing Co., 55 Chicago St., Buffalo.
Buffalo SOUP follows the legacy of several other successful “soups” held across the U.S.
At the suggestion of Jessica Kruger, Ph.D., clinical associate professor in the department of community health and health behavior in the University at Buffalo’s School of Public Health and Health Professions, students in a philosophy, politics and economics course at UB organized the first Buffalo SOUP event in May. That event raised $655 for Project Mona’s House, an organization that aims to eradicate human trafficking. Two of the original students, Annabella Bogart and Astha Pandey, are still involved with the planning and organizing of this event.
This time around, Sarah Verwij-Wood, a student in the online, individualized Master of Public Health (MPH) program in UB’s School of Public Health and Health Professions, is organizing the event as part of her field training. The theme is sustainability and environmental health education.
Here’s how a “soup” works: Attendees provide a donation (the suggested range is $5-$25). The money is put into a pool. Attendees then receive a meal of soup (or they can order separately off the venue’s menu) while four presenters have a few minutes each to explain their projects to the audience. Attendees then vote for the project they would like the pooled money to be awarded to. The project that receives the most votes wins.
Presenters for this month’s SOUP so far include Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper and the Tool Library. Kruger highlights that this is a way for people to learn about these organizations and how to get involved with their future initiatives.
Participants are asked to register in advance by visiting the Eventbrite page.
Verwij-Wood is a Syracuse native who works full-time as a subacute rehabilitation social worker at a skilled nursing facility there.
“My passion is working with and advocating for our aging population because of how difficult it is to navigate our health care system and age successfully with adequate and comprehensive resources,” she said.
On the theme for the fall Buffalo SOUP, Verwij-Wood said, “Sustainability and environmental health is a branch of public health that is often forgotten about. As public health and medical professionals, we encourage our clients and patients to make positive decisions that contribute to their overall wellbeing. They also need the tools to do so. People can't achieve health if their surroundings aren't conducive to it. We are all aware that policy changes have the biggest impact on public health and the environment, but this doesn't mean we shouldn’t take action at the grassroots level in the meantime.”
Organizers are hoping to make Buffalo Soup a recurring event every semester and are looking to establish a board of directors to oversee and plan future soups. Anyone interested in joining can email [email protected] or find them on Instagram using @Buffalonysoup.
“Planning, coordinating, and working with community partners such as BootSector is an essential skill in public health,” said Kruger, who serves as Buffalo SOUP’s faculty adviser. “This event is an excellent learning opportunity for students to learn problem-solving, networking and communication skills.”