When Danny Sexton decided to sell doughnuts at school as a way to do his part to help the people of Darfur, it was supposed to be a one-time project.
The 2009 graduate of St. Xavier High School has since created a new nonprofit organization that stems from a school project called Donuts for Darfur, geared toward providing much-needed assistance in Darfur, located in western Sudan.
“It’s the right thing to do,” Sexton said. “God wants us to do good things for other people.”
Sexton, 18, of Loveland is the founder and chief executive officer of Concordia Humana Corp. The organization’s name is Latin for “human harmony.” Its mission statement includes being “committed to administering social justice to those who need it most around the world.”
Sexton along with his St. Xavier classmates Ryan Finke, Nicandro Iannacci and Peter Beaucage, as well as his friend, Emma Cevasco of Mason, serves on Concordia Humana’s board.
More than 2.75 million people in Darfur have been displaced as a result of civilian genocide. Women and girls from the refugee camps in Darfur are raped and suffer other forms of abuse by militia if they leave to collect firewood needed to cook meals for their families. The men will also be killed if they leave camp.
“It’s basically a modern day Holocaust,” Sexton said of Darfur. “Somebody has to be responsible to clean up the mess.”
A member of St. Columban Parish in Loveland, Sexton recognized the potential of raising funds for Darfur by selling doughnuts in a school full of teenage boys. He established Donuts for Darfur in May 2008. Sexton requested doughnuts from Kroger stores in Northside, Colerain, Loveland and Mason, Busken Bakery in Hyde Park and the Ridge Donut Shop in Pleasant Ridge, all of which have generously donated their stock.
Proceeds from Donuts for Darfur benefit Jewish World Watch’s Solar Cooker Project, which Sexton learned about from his friend, Deborah Backman, whose synagogue has been involved with the project. The Solar Cooker Project provides solar ovens to the people of Darfur who must live in a refugee camp.
“I felt it would be a great project to work for,” said Sexton.
The doughnut sales required some early morning for the St. Xavier students. Sexton, Finke, Iannacci and Beaucage would awaken before dawn. By 4 a.m., the friends were on their way to pick up as many as 500 doughnuts at Busken’s headquarters and 900 doughnuts from Ridge Donut Shop. Loading the doughnuts took 30 minutes. The friends arrived at school by 7 a.m., and sold out of doughnuts, costing $1 each, within an hour.
Sexton raised $1,275 at the start of the 2008-09 school year, and had collected $6,600 by May.
“It was a blast,” Sexton said. “The school cafeteria would shut down for us so we could sell doughnuts. We had a lot of cooperation at St. Xavier.”
Sexton’s father, Pat said he remembers his son spending late nights making preparations for the doughnut sale. Sometimes his son went to bed a few hours before he left for work.
His mother, Kathy marveled at her son’s ability to manage his schoolwork, apply for college and maintain his doughnut sale.
St. Xavier officials said they try to influence their students to think globally and find ways they can help others.
“Danny’s initiative was one of the best I’ve seen,” said Matt Kemper, director of community service at St. Xavier High School. “Having a global perspective is incredibly important. We encourage students to have an understanding, an appreciation and an ability to empathize with the plight of the poor and the oppressed.”
Because Sexton’s Donuts for Darfur gained so much momentum, he created Concordia Human to continue to help the people of Darfur and other countries where people suffer atrocities just to meet their own basic needs. Donuts for Darfur will continue next year at St. Xavier, Sexton said.
As far as other projects with Concordia Humana, Sexton and his friends said they’re still discussing ideas to implement at Xavier University, where Sexton will be a freshman in the fall, and at the University of Cincinnati, where Finke and Beaucage will be students.
In recognition for his efforts, Sexton was selected as a finalist for the 2009 Simon Lazarus Human Relations Award by the American Jewish Committee. In addition, Donuts for Darfur project has been recognized the Greater Cincinnati Advocates for Darfur.
“Love is not a function of distance,” said Sexton in reflecting on his ministry
For more information about Concordia Humana or to make a donation, visit www.concordiahumana.org.
Printed with permission from The Catholic Telegraph, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.