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Nov 15, 2004

Calvin Nets $6,300 for Hunger

An impressive catch of Peter fish at Calvin College has netted $6,300 for two organizations dedicated to ending world hunger.

Members of Calvin's Social Justice Coalition (SJC) and worship apprentice team gathered this week and spent three hours counting the coins and bills in the 400 Peter fish, plus an assortment of bags and jars of loose change, turned in by Calvin students.

The proceeds will benefit Bread for the World and the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC).

"I was really shocked," says Jason Fileta, a Calvin senior from Wheaton, Ill., who, along with Dave Cieminis, a CRWRC representative, had set a goal of $2,000 for the project. "It gave me a lot of faith in the student body here."

The Peter fish is actually a plastic, fish-shaped bank which was distributed across the Calvin campus during the October 4-8 World Hunger Week.

The story of the Peter fish is told in the Biblical book of Matthew when Jesus tells Peter to go to the lake and throw out his line. The first fish he catches, Jesus says, will in its mouth have a coin which Peter should use to pay the temple tax.

The CRWRC believes that the Peter fish is an excellent symbol for its annual world hunger campaign and has been using the fish as a fundraiser for years. So many years, in fact, that Calvin students who picked them up around campus this year remembered them from their childhoods.

"I knew if I had seen something like this as a student, and I thought I could make a difference, I would want to be involved," says Cieminis, who graduated from Calvin in 2004.

Now a planned giving and communications assistant with the CRWRC, Cieminis was confident the Calvin campus would respond to the Peter fish project.

"I had faith in the Calvin community," he says. "I knew there were a lot of students who cared about international issues, poverty and world hunger."

Cieminis hopes the Peter Fish will return to Calvin next year during World Hunger Week. In fact he envisions casting the nets even wider to include other colleges, saying simply: "This seems to work in a college setting."

~words and photo by media relations staff writer Myrna Anderson

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Phil de Haan
616-526-6475 (v)