Student Services staff pose with a "health and fitness" theme holiday basket they created, one of nine baskets to be raffled off to raise funds for charity. Front row (L-R): Megan Duffy, Carey Anne Townsend, Brian Chabot and Nykolett Boger '03. Back row (L-R): Jane McGuire, Matthew Meegan and Betina Rodriguez. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)
The secret? The recipe for Student Services Representative Mary Henson's Irish bread, a treat the 14-year veteran of Student Services bakes for office gatherings and special occasions.
A native of Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, Henson has been baking the bread for 25 years. "I usually bake three of four loaves and they're usually gobbled up in an hour," she said. "It's a simple recipe but people seem to love it."
Henson's Irish bread is no longer a secret, thanks to a newly published 91-page collection of staff recipes - including eggplant dip, crabbies, Chicken Divan and apple cheese tortes - appropriately titled Student Services Cooks!
Student Services is not simply aiming to enhance culinary tastes around campus. Proceeds from the sale of the cookbooks, which cost $10 apiece, will help 15 staff members participate in a community service project next month with the Boston chapter of Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit organization that builds affordable housing.
"By doing our part to help others we are given the chance to come together in ways that we can't throughout the year," said Administrative Specialist Jane McGuire. "It's a good feeling and it raises the camaraderie in the office."
McGuire collects cans and bottles throughout the year and this month will be able to donate more than $600 to Catholic Charities and the Christ Child Society of Greater Boston, an all-volunteer organization dedicated to helping needy children and the elderly.
"The cans are donated from offices all over BC," said McGuire. "So it's really a University-wide effort."
For the second year, McGuire and her fellow Student Services staffers are "adopting" three families through programs organized by Catholic Charities and the Boston Department of Social Services and will buy clothing, toys and games for them.
To raise money for the presents, various groups and individuals from Student Services make up gift "theme" baskets that are displayed in Lyons Hall and later raffled off along with other prizes.
This year, the Student Services staff has created nine baskets using such themes as tea and coffee, international foods, Harry Potter, and health and fitness. The Harry Potter basket contains merchandise based on the popular books and movie, including small games, stamps, figurines and stuffed animals, while the health and fitness basket offers hand weights, a sports bag, workout videos, a sweat band and a gift certificate for a massage.
The baskets went on display earlier this week and will be raffled off on Dec. 20.
In past years, it was a Student Services tradition to exchange gifts among staff members, McGuire said, but more recently she and her colleagues have opted to do outreach activities instead.
"I think the feeling you get from doing things for other people is really good for you," said McGuire. "This is what Christmas is all about."
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