The WAAAUB Houston Chapter kicked off AUBcares with a bang at America’s largest distribution food bank – the Houston Food Bank – on October 15, 2022, when a group of Houston Chapter members and their families and friends got together to fill care packages for local children. “It’s a way to connect with our community and to show that AUB is a university that cares,” said Alfred Maksoud (BS ’84, MS ’86, MD ’89), Houston Chapter president.
“The care packages are basically for students who get free meals at school. During the weekends, they don’t get those meals so these packages are given to families with children to sustain them over the weekend,” said Mona Duna (BS ’87), Houston Chapter secretary.
Within four hours, the chapter was able to pack 600-700 packages. The experience reminded Maksoud that there are many people out there who want to help, you just need to draw them in. Some of the families that participated had never done something like this before and were very pleased with their work by the end.
The work was predictable and easy for all ages to do. Some children as young as six took part, dressed in their AUB t-shirts and ready to help.
What Duna loved about the experience is that it was rewarding for both kids and adults. In fact, she felt that she should have volunteered at the food bank with her own children sooner. “The experience of working side-by-side with fellow alumni to give back was so rewarding,” she said.
It was not only rewarding, but also community-building – and a chance to promote AUB values. Alumni coming together to help others is after all a core value for AUB alumni.
Duna’s advice for other chapters organizing AUBcares events is to plan well in advance and choose tasks that are relatively easy for all ages so that the whole family can get involved and everyone can enjoy themselves. Marwan Yared (BS ’87, MD ’91) is one of the alumni who took part with his family. “The experience we had at the Houston Food Bank event as a family, and personally for me as an AUB alumnus, was great,” he says. When I first asked my kids if they would do it, they were very skeptical, but quickly warmed up to it and actually started enjoying it so much while doing it that they didn’t want to leave when that time came!” Yared says that the AUBcares event was also a great way to introduce his wife and kids to his alma mater friends.
Lina Jazi (BS ’89), Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations-North America and General Secretary of WAAAUB, echoes the sentiments of many of the alumni who took part in the event on Saturday morning. “As members of the AUB family, we know that AUB cares. With this initiative, communities around the world are learning this too,” she said. “Bravo to the Houston Chapter for leading the way!”