Fish, bread, donuts
The Donut Dash raises funds for local organizations through campus ministry
Donuts and running.
Two things one would never logically place in the same sentence.
But on Saturday, April 16, these two things were the talk of the town as the Fish & Bread Project hosted its annual 5K run, with this year’s event at Percival’s Island involving donuts at the finish.
Matt Short, the founder of the Fish & Bread Project and a resident director at Liberty University, said the 5K race, entitled, the Donut Dash, took place to raise money for the ministry, which partners with the Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center, the Hill City Crash AAU basketball team and Axiom Sports.
Short said the other ministries — the Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center, the Hill City Crash AAU basketball team and Axiom Sports — were chosen through prior relationships he had.
Morgan Stone, a resident of Lynchburg, participated in the race with her husband because she believes in the mission of the Fish & Bread project.
“(It’s important to support this ministry) because of the significance of the mission of the organization itself in its holistic development of disciples and its strong support of its local ministries,” Stone said.
The annual race is a donation-only event in which participants give what they can.
“We do free registration, so we don’t charge anything to sign up for the race,” Short said.
“We give out free donuts at the race, and we just ask our students and those who get involved to raise a little bit of money through sponsorship. We try to push about $25 for each person. Some people raise a lot more than that. Some people don’t raise any, but we still want them to come out and participate. We did roughly $4,000 of fundraising this (time).”
According to Short, the Fish & Bread Project began as a simple idea on the campus of Liberty.
“We started it four years ago as a dorm project on the hill,” Short said.
“The idea being just to challenge our students to grow in their faith. Out of the passage of Scripture where the young boy gives fish and bread, it was the idea that we ask each one to give a little bit. So we challenge our students to commit a little bit of time to prayer and to give a little bit of money. We ask them specifically for a dollar every week and to commit some time to service and projects. The idea being that if they give a little bit and learn to grow in their faith that God will do something big with it and together as a community, each committing a little bit, they can accomplish something bigger together.”
Though Short began the ministry with a few of his resident assistants, it has grown significantly over the four years since its origin.
The ministry partners with other ministries in hopes of seeing God do something big with what little people are able to give.
“We knew some people that worked at the Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center at the time,” Short said.
“And now my wife works there actually as a development director. Axiom sports was founded by Tyler McClure, who was a friend of mine from undergrad. … And then Hill City Crash is a local ministry that uses sports … as an avenue to disciple and train young men.”
The organization is also a discipleship ministry which exists to challenge people to selflessly serve.
According to the Fish & Bread Project website, the Fish & Bread Project model focuses on four areas of discipline — prayer, service, community and generosity.
With a few hundred participants in the 5K race and many students onboard with the mission of the Fish & Bread Project, Short hopes to continue to see college students learn to be givers and servants.
“We are looking to maintain what we are doing, maybe build some more awareness on campus (and) get people involved,” Short said.
“Really the point of it is to get our students to really practice and grow in their faith by giving a little bit, and sacrificing a little bit. Letting them see that the point is not (that) we’re giving these ministries money and are helping them out, but (by) them living faithfully and sacrificially, as a byproduct these ministries are going to benefit from it.”
Short said he wants to see students step-up to lead lives of sacrifice and generosity, which he hopes they will learn to do through the Fish & Bread Project.
“(In) the beginning of the year we always do a big hall meeting where we put all the students together,” Short said “And I always share this story about when I was a kid.My father lost his job, and this other man came along and paid my dad’s mortgage on his house for six months. … I tell them that because I said,
‘I want you guys to grow up to be men and women that when someone has a hard time, you’re willing to sacrifice and give up for someone else. And if you’re incapable of right now sacrificing and donating something as small as a dollar every week, what are you going to do when something big like that comes up?’”
Rodriguez is the news editor