Panizzi cafe raises $8,000 to support childhood obesity research
UOW students and staff have raised $8,000 for health and medical research, simply by making a coin donation for a piece of fruit at Panizzi café on campus.
After running restaurants and cafes around the region for more than 30 years, Panizzi manager, Vito Rizzo, wanted to give something back to the community by supporting a health-related cause. He now pops into the Leisure Coast Fruit market at Fairy Meadow every day to purchase two large boxes of fruit for the café to offer patrons in exchange for their donation.
“We all know that students don’t have a lot of spare cash. I thought this would be a great way of helping them maintain their health while also giving them the opportunity to support a good cause,” says Vito.
The initiative has raised $8,000, which Vito donated to the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI) in March 2014.
“When I began looking for a cause I was delighted to find that the IHMRI, which is based on the UOW campus, brings academic researchers together with clinicians in the health service to improve the health of the Illawarra community. This includes childhood obesity research to address what is a really serious problem in our society,” says Vito.
IHMRI will soon put out a call for applications for research proposals relating to childhood obesity, which will be reviewed by a scientific committee.
IHMRI Executive Director, Professor Mike Calford, said: “From just a few coins to a fund of $8,000 is amazing and a credit to Panizzi and the UOW community.”
“Studies are already underway on how to promote physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour in young children. This generous donation will help us pilot new projects that may develop into large, externally funded projects. It has really kick-started our fundraising efforts and we can’t thank Vito and the UOW community enough.”
Members of the Illawarra community are encouraged to donate directly to IHMRI’s research through the GiveNow program.