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NIU Today | Members of John Henrik Clarke Honor Society make a difference in the community

Brooke Benford is majoring in biomedical engineering, but on April 15, she showed off her culinary skills. Along with fellow John Henrik Clarke Honor Society members Britiany Wilson, Imani Jones, Jacy Rogers, Nina Tackett, Kianna Graves and Daija Hammonds, the NIU junior spent the afternoon cooking on campus so that others could enjoy a delicious meal.

Founded in 2002 by NIU African-American students, the society aims to recognize those with high academic standards and an ongoing commitment to community service. As the community service chair, Benford works to provide volunteering opportunities for its members, and this month, they made a meal for homeless individuals.

“Events like this are important because it is a chance to give back to our community,” Benford said. “I believe a community is a team that should work together in order to thrive; We must help one another out to ensure that no one has to struggle.”

Benford contacted Hope Haven, a DeKalb County center that provides housing, meals and life skills for homeless individuals and families preparing for re-housing.

“Originally our plan was to cook the meals right there at the shelter, but due to COVID-19 restrictions we couldn’t do that,” Benford said. “They said we could drop off food as well, so we used the Wirtz Food Lab to prepare everything instead.”

The delicious meal, featuring spaghetti, chicken Alfredo, salad, garlic bread and cookies, was made fresh and dropped off at Hope Haven.

“I hope that the residents of Hope Haven enjoyed a delicious meal for the night and for at least one day did not have to worry about having to find food to put on their plate,” Benford said. “No one should go hungry, and if there is one thing that we can do to move towards that goal then we will do it.”

Benford said the students were grateful to campus partners in the College of Health and Human Sciences who helped make this possible.

Learn more about the John Henrik Clarke Honor Society.

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