Alumni chapter distributes food to alums in need
By Ashlee Larrison
GCU News Bureau
As he watched news reports of people feeling the negative financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vince Licciardi wondered whether some of the 20,000 Grand Canyon University alumni in the Phoenix area fell into that category.
The President of GCU’s Phoenix alumni chapter, working with the Alumni Relations Department, decided something had to be done.
“I was just thinking of different ways we could help, and I knew we had some of our budget left for this year,” he said.
The next step was finding someone who provide food. He didn’t have to look far for the answer: GCU’s Canyon 49 Grill, where General Manager Brett Cortright and chef Marcus Maggiore were eager to pitch in.
“Working with Brett and Marcus, we put together a menu that was able to be delicious but also make as many meals as possible,” Licciardi said.
The Phoenix alumni chapter’s contribution was matched by Vice President of Advancement Dr. Kale Gober, allowing for more meals to be funded.
Friday afternoon, 56 alumni stopped by Canyon 49 to pick up meals consisting of short ribs and potatoes for themselves and their families. Each meal was large enough to feed two people and served ready to be reheated at home.
“Marcus came up with the menu as a first draft and suggested it to Vince, and Vince absolutely loved it on the first try,” Cortright said.
Cortright didn’t hesitate when asked to partner with the Phoenix alumni chapter.
“We need to come together as a community at this time and try to support those who need it, and those who need it aren’t always willing to put their hand up and ask for it,” he said. “Sometimes just making an offer can help in a huge way. We’re happy to be part of it.”
It’s just another way for GCU to help its alumni.
“What we really want our alumni to know is that we’re here for them, we care for them and we’re praying for the health and safety of all of our alumni and their families,” Alumni Relations Specialist Brianna Bell said. “We really just want to show that we’re here to support them not only through their education while they were a student at GCU but also in their lives because this is a really hard, crazy time for everybody and everyone has been affected by this in one way or another.”
Alumni who received the food couldn’t help but feel the love.
“It makes me feel cared for and a part of the local community,” Carlos Daniel said.
The effort alone impressed Benjamin Sullens as he picked up a meal. “It’s a really great thing that they are using some of the stuff that they have and keeping their employees employed,” he said.
Licciardi hopes the effort will encourage others to perform similar acts of kindness.
“If there’s anything that I would hope come of this, it’s just help someone else who needs it,” he said. “I think it says a lot about the type of community that we do have from our students and from our alumni, but really it’s just sharing that love and that sense of grace right now more than ever.”
Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or [email protected]
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