Sandwich-making brings three religions together for community service

SU hosts its first community-based interfaith sandwich-making event

Members of SU's Catholic, Muslim and Jewish communities join together for a meal and service project.
Published: November 30, 2018 | Updated: December 7th, 2018 at 10:02 am
Students and faculty from different religious associations on campus came together to make PB&J and turkey sandwiches to donate to the poor at the Samaritan Center and Assumption Church Food Pantry
Students making sandwiches for the poor at the first Abrahamic interfaith sandwich ministry at the SU Catholic Center on Thursday.

“Pass the condiments, we’re falling short.”

“There’s more turkey here than the bread can handle.”

“Slather the PB on generously.”

These were among the typical remarks overheard at Syracuse University’s Catholic Center as 40 students and faculty members made hundreds of sandwiches to share with local charities.

Started three years year ago as a way to encourage students to serve people less fortunate, the Catholic Center’s monthly community service effort was noticeably different Thursday night with the inclusion of members of the Islamic and Jewish faiths.

“We may not worship together but we can serve together to reach out and make the world a better place,” said Father Gerry Waterman, noting that the three religious sects complete the trio of Abrahamic traditions, which share the common patriarch Abraham.

Before embarking on the evening’s goal of making 500 turkey and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to donate to the Samaritan Center and Assumption Church Food Pantry, participants shared a meal together.

Breaking bread literally and figuratively over meatloaf, eggplant parmesan, salad and beautifully decorated cupcakes fueled camaraderie and interfaith dialogue.

“The communal aspect of this event makes it so much sweeter,” Rabbi Leah Fein of Syracuse Hillel said. “And it’s something so simple and beautiful as sandwich-making and sharing a meal together.”

While SU alum Tahsin Tahmid dug into the halal meatloaf, the former executive board member of SU’s Muslim Students’ Association said the communal gathering was important for many reasons.

“It is lovely to meet people of other faiths, get to know one another and come together to help the homeless,” Tahmid said.

For SUNY-ESF junior and Catholic Center regular Adrianna Calamita, it’s about practicing what you preach.

“Sandwich ministry is a symbol of service to give back to the community and those less privileged,” Calamita said.

Avatar for Lyle Michael

A former Senior Features Writer, currently an arts journalist at Newhouse School and staff producer for Newshouse.