Burris Laboratory School. DN File
Burris graduates show community they still 'Give a Hoot'
While planning their 50th class reunion, the planning committee for the Burris Class of 1967 decided they wanted to offer more than just a party. They wanted to give each other the opportunity to give back to the community.
When the group discovered that their classmate, Loretta Parsons, is the director of the Soup Kitchen of Muncie, they decided donating money to the kitchen would be a great way to give back to the town where they grew up.
The group contacted Parsons, who then created a list of “needs and wants,” which outlined upgrades the soup kitchen would benefit from.
The soup kitchen provides a hot meal and a sack lunch for every guest, which on average is 139 people per day, Parsons said. In order to save electricity and increase the kitchen’s efficiency, Parsons included items like refrigerators, freezers and a double convection oven on the list.
Andy Young, president of the class, created the slogan “Give a Hoot About Your Roots!” and fellow classmate David Shank went to work promoting the fundraiser.
Although he lives in Indianapolis now, Shank said he remembers Muncie as his hometown and was glad to help make a difference in the Muncie community, even if it was in a small way.
Emails and letters were then sent to other class members, asking for donations of money, time and food. Then the group began collecting donations.
During the reunion, which was held on Sept. 22, 23 and 24, 2017, 13 members of the class volunteered at the soup kitchen, but money continued to be donated even after the reunion.
Parsons said the owls have raised almost $12,000 for the soup kitchen.
To cover what the donations do not, however, Parsons and Jeff Quinn, another member of the class, applied for a grant for the soup kitchen from the Muncie Community Foundation.
“If we can provide a hot meal for someone now, it may enable them to have a better life in the future,” Shank said.
In light of their success, the Class of '67 plans on sharing their methods with other classes when they plan their reunions. They are also continuing to contact classmates asking for more donations, and the soup kitchen is holding a fundraising event in March.