Little Bites Reap Big Rewards

Little Bites Reap Big Rewards

Although she graduated some time ago, Virginia Galloway keeps finding good reasons to stay at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas.

"I believe it's my obligation to help and encourage our students in any way that I can," she acknowledges with a smile. For years, Virginia has been working along with university students and cooking for the Basilian Fathers at the school.

"I assist the students in setting the tables, making meals and serving dinner to the Fathers," she says. "I've given many impromptu cooking lessons along the way ... frequently referring to recipes and tips from Taste of Home."

When Ida Orbe, a student whose family is from Tunisia, asked Virginia to make hors d'oeuvres for a fund-raiser, she couldn't say no. Ida wanted to raise money for the Center for International Studies' Micro-Credit Program, which offers micro-loans (an average of just $50) to small entrepreneurs in developing countries.

"I knew this program could make a significant difference in the lives of people who live in dire poverty," says Virginia. "I was delighted to donate my time and cooking skills to help our students help others."

Together, Virginia, Ida and nine other students took over the Fathers' kitchen, working until 1 a.m. the night before the event. They washed and chopped vegetables, created little pastries, prepared hummus and made mini cheesecakes—along with many other treats.

And they cooked up quite a success!

"We raised over $10,000, which aided the Micro-Credit Program in dispatching loans to over 70 beneficiaries all over the world," says Virginia. Seventy percent of those went to female entrepreneurs.

The loans helped people do everything from opening a retail store in the Ukraine to starting honey farming in Mexico.

"The evening was such a success," says Virginia, "that we're making it an annual event!"

Virginia uses her recipes for Ham & Green Onion Roll-Ups, Prosciutto Parmesan Pinwheels, Smoked Salmon and Chives Cheesecake and Three-Cheese Appetizer Cheesecake at the student fund-raiser. She also relies on recipes for Three-Meat Stromboli and Bacon Water Chestnut Wraps from Taste of Home for the annual event.