Niagara University students Justin Crawford and Gabriella Simoneit were recognized by Heart, Love and Soul during the food pantry and dining room’s annual recognition dinner on April 6.
Crawford (a native of Tonawanda) and Simoneit (of Niagara Falls) logged 578 volunteer hours during the past two years at Heart, Love and Soul through the university’s Vincentian Scholars program, an intensive service and learning experience for highly qualified undergraduate students.
Since 2015, Crawford has spent 284 hours volunteering at Heart, Love and Soul, juggling multiple tasks which include developing operational handbooks and informational fliers as well as assisting with payroll and unloading food donations. Guests know Justin as respectful, courteous and considerate, reported Sister Beth Brosmer, executive director of Heart, Love and Soul.
“The spirit of St. Vincent is deeply rooted in Justin as he develops his talents to help those living in poverty,” she said.
Simoneit, who also started at Heart, Love and Soul in 2015, has accumulated 294 hours of service time. While learning how nonprofits function and operate, Simoneit, also a Vincentian Scholar, has assisted with children’s activities, completing behind-the-scenes work and helping with anything technology-related.
“Gabi’s interactions with guests are a clear example of the respect and compassion with which she holds each one,” Sister Brosmer said. “It is a joy to witness Gabi maturing into a Vincentian woman with a true heart for the poor.”
The Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., president of Niagara University, served as guest auctioneer for the fundraising event.