Gamma Phi raises money with grilled cheese

Around midnight on Thursday, the women of Wichita State’s Gamma Phi Beta served 318 grilled cheese sandwiches in a two-hour period.

On average, that amounts to 2.65 grilled cheese sandwiches per minute.

It was “late night,” an experimental part of Grilled Cheese with GPhiB in which an unlimited amount of grilled cheese sandwiches were made for anyone with a $5 dollar ticket.

“We accidentally ordered too many cheese slices, so it works out for everyone in the end,” said sophomore Paola Nunez, a member of the philanthropy committee at Gamma Phi.

Gamma Phi served more than 800 people Thursday and Friday, and collected an unofficial total of more than $5,000. Proceeds from the philanthropic event go toward Heartspring, a nonprofit center for children with special needs.

“We donate to the CARE (Community of Autism Resources and Education) program for the kids with autism,” Nunez said. “They have about 50 kids (at Heartspring). The average time they’re there is four years.”  

Members of the sorority recently took tours of Heartspring after sophomore Kelsey Austin took an interest.

“I thought it would help the members understand what they were volunteering for,” Austin said. “It makes it so much more meaningful to understand the people that you are helping.”

For freshman Samantha Fulcher, the understanding was already there. Her younger brother — a sophomore in high school — has autism, she said.

“I would definitely not be the way I am today without him,” Fulcher said. “This is the first chance I’ve gotten to do something to directly support Heartspring.”

When he was younger, the Fulchers took him to Heartspring once a week for a few months to work on eating habits, writing and speech. Despite her brother’s difficulties, Fulcher said she is jealous of some of his strengths.

“His memory is incredible,” she said. “He can quote about every Disney movie quote.”

On Thursday afternoon, a couple of students from the school at Heartspring came to the Gamma Phi Beta residence and ate sandwiches.

“It’s really nice for them to come support us when we’re here supporting them,” Nunez said.