Galentine’s Day service project for refugees sees large turnout

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Roughly 400 people attended the “Galentine’s Day with a purpose” service activity organized by BYU students on Monday night at Sodalicious at The Village at South Campus.

“We estimate that somewhere around 400 people came out tonight, which is incredible,” Cecelia Proffit, co-creator of the event and BYU student exploring family studies said. “That is more than twice of what we were expecting.”

The service event, meant to be a tool in helping a number of refugees that have claimed Utah as their home, raised over $750 in monetary donations. And, that was just money raised from Monday night.

Profitt and her friends’ efforts totaled $2,639 from donations through Venmo, PayPal and cash, not including Sodalicious’ profits and donated goods.

All the contributions will be given to the International Rescue Committee (IRC), which will then divvy them out how it sees fit, according to Naomi Hughes, a public health major taking part in the service project.

The service project also collected 25 women’s welcome kits, 50 adult work bags and car loads of supplies such as laundry soap, toilet paper, diapers and baby wipes.

“The IRC asked us to cap our donations of the women’s welcome kits and work bags to preserve their storage space,” Proffit said. “But, we received so many donations of the bulk items that our living room is completely full. I was only expecting maybe a bin full of each item, but instead we had several car loads.”

Friends and former BYU students Emilee Wolfe and Hannah Miller attended the event because they both felt it provided a way to celebrate love and friendship within the community.

“We were all about celebrating our lady friends, of course,” Wolfe said, “but, the fact that this event is getting women involved in the community in a way that I feel women are naturally inclined to help is great. This is the best way to do Galentine’s Day.”

Proffit was extremely grateful for the turn out and also for the help and generosity of Sodalicious CEO and co-founder Kevin Auernig.

Auernig and the rest of his executive team pledged to donate 100 percent of the profits that Sodalicious made during the six-hour event.

“We were so excited when Sodalicious pledged 100 percent of their donations,” Proffit said. “We were expecting maybe one percent or 10 percent, if we were lucky. It was so incredibly generous and good-hearted of them to not only give us the space, but to give 100 percent of their donations on such a busy night.”

Sodalicious’ generosity stemmed from the company’s desire to give, according to Auernig.

“One of our mission statements at Sodalicious is giving back,” Auernig said. “We are grateful for everything we have been given, and we love to be apart of the community. If all of us give a little bit we can help a ton.”

Proffit and other team members were appreciative of the support within the community and were extremely optimistic about the outcome of the event.

“We exceeded our goals,” Proffit said. “We are so grateful to those who came and brought donations or stood in line to buy a soda. The event was so much more successful than I ever could have guessed.”

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