One tenet that has always been held in high regard by the Fire organization is the importance of giving back to the community. From the Chicago Fire Foundation, the club’s charitable arm, to the Independent Supporters Association, Section 8 Chicago, the philanthropic spirit permeates all facets of the Fire family.
And this past weekend, Fire Academy product Bryan Ciesiulka continued the tradition, raising more than $22,000 and mobilizing the Marquette University community to pack 100,000 meals for hungry children worldwide.
Ciesiulka, a junior co-captain at Marquette, partnered with the organization Feed My Starving Children to create hand-packed meals formulated to meet the needs of malnourished children in nearly 70 countries worldwide.
PHOTOS: Marquette Fundraising Drive
“I visited one of Feed My Starving Children’s stationary sites over the summer and really liked it,” Ciesulka told Chicago-Fire.com. “I found out that they do something called mobile packs where you can take all the food to a specific location to create the meal packs and I thought it would be a great idea to do this at Marquette.”
Thought he was busy leading the No. 7 ranked Golden Eagles into the NCAA tournament, Ciesiulka began raising the requisite funds in October.
“One of the major obstacles was the fundraising,” he explained. “We had to raise over $22,000 so that was very challenging but I had a great group of people. We did it through the student-athlete committee here at Marquette and everyone got on board.
“We held some 50/50 Raffles at our basketball games, sent e-mails to family and friends, and got donations from alumni and companies in the area and were able to raise the money. Secondly, we needed 500 volunteers but it was great. A lot of student-athletes wanted to be a part of it; once we got word out everyone wanted to help.”
Ciesiulka, a math major from Naperville, Ill., undertook the project with a positive and optimistic attitude, not realizing how large the event would become.
“I thought we’d give it a shot and see what happened. Once we got all the teams involved and allof the athletic department involved, I realized that it would be fun and something cool we could all do together.”
This past Sunday, the 2012 team MVP mobilized more than 500 volunteers from the Marquette community to pack the food consisting of a mixture of chicken, rice, dehydrated vegetables and other nutrients, and loaded them into boxes for shipping.
“We’re very blessed here, especially at Marquette,” said Ciesiulka, explaining why he decided to spearhead the initiative. “We have a lot of resources and a lot of people who really care about us and want us to succeed. You just hope you can do something to help those who don’t have those kind of resources.
“For all of us to pitch together was really cool. To know we could do something together and help people in need felt great and was very rewarding.”
For more information on Feed My Starving Children, visit their website at http://www.fmsc.org