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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Washington, DC chapter earns service award

Coming off the heels of Thanksgiving, there's been plenty of thanks to go around, especially for the Washington, DC Chapter of Emory Alumni.

Since 2002, the chapter has helped the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) in suburban Virginia with its annual Scouting for Food Drive as part of Emory Cares International Service Day. And this year, AFAC cared back more than ever, presenting the chapter with its annual Community Partner award for its outstanding contributions to its cause.

On Emory Cares Day, Saturday, November 14, project coordinator Michael Wu 88C led about 70 Emory volunteers at AFAC, where they sorted 54,000 lbs. of food collected by the Boy Scouts in Arlington County. Each year, the scouts collect food donations from the front porches and doorsteps of local residents and bring them to a church near AFAC. There, Emory alumni and their families help organize thousands of cans of food.

Wu said participation has grown since Emory Cares Day began. Years ago, at an annual DC chapter volunteer meeting, he suggested to Dusty Porter 85C, the alumnus who started the DC alumni chapter (and eventually served as president of the Emory Alumni Board (EAB), that young alumni should also do community service. Porter brought up the idea to the EAB, and so grew Emory Cares Day in Washington. Because of this, Wu said he humbly likes to think he's partly responsible for the creation of the service day and its growth.

"I always bring out my family and kids," Wu said in a phone interview. "This past year, I brought out my parents. Many of my friends come out too who are not Emory alumni."

A project coordinator since 2002, Wu said the DC chapter will continue to participate in AFAC's annual food drive. He also is hoping to organize volunteer events for other food bank events during the year.

"It's very rewarding for the Emory Alumni Association to contribute back to the community," Wu said. "And I think its a very worthwhile and worthy cause to help out food banks, especially in our area of Virginia."

-- Lindsey Bomnin 12C, EAA communications assistant

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