407-823-3094 LiveUnited@ucf.edu

Annual UCF Recreation and Wellness Center Lunch Around the World Spreads the United Way Message of Giving No Matter the Size

October 29, 2018 by Danielle Benghiat &  Scott Mauro

Only two days left in the UCF & United Way Campaign, and the Recreation and Wellness Center staff provide a great message of hope served up with good food and good friends at their 5th annual Lunch Around the World.

It certainly wasn’t hard to convince students and professional staff members at the UCF Recreation and Wellness Center, Wellness Health and Promotion Services, Housing and Residence life otherwise as they ate bite after bite of home cooked food during the RWC/WHPS Lunch around the World. More than 60 people enjoyed nearly 30 dishes and desserts from 16 different countries and regions during the UCF Recreation and Wellness Center’s annual Lunch around the World to support the UCF United Way campaign.

Each year UCF students, faculty and staff are invited to walk around a conference room at the RWC and sample dishes made by student and professional staff from departments within Student Development and Enrollment Services (SDES), and UCF Political Science. Events such as Lunch around the World hosted by UCF RWC bring the United Way message to individuals at the working group level, where support for the campaign is the greatest.

The list of dishes came from all over the globe including the Brazil, China, Cuba, Guyana, India, Italy, Mexico, Philippines, Tanzania, Venezuela, and different regions across the United States:

  • Arepas
  • Buffalo Chicken Dip
  • Chicken Lettuce Wraps
  • Chickpea Chaat
  • Empanadas
  • Hummus and olive oil
  • Kukupaka (Chicken in Coconut Sauce)
  • Mediterranean Salad
  • Professional and student staff members made 28 dishes and desserts from the Recreation and Wellness Center, Wellness and Health Promotion Services, Housing and Residence Life and Department of Political Science

    Salsa Verde

  • Southwestern Chicken
  • Southwestern Salsa

Desserts included:

  • Brigadeiros
  • Cassava Cake
  • Chocolate Hazlenut Cookies
  • Coconut Italian Cream Cake
  • Mini French Silk Chocolate Pies
  • Nut filled dates with sea-salt and shredded coconut
  • Polvorones cookies
  • Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
  • Pumpkin Mini Cheese Cakes
  • Pumpkin Muffins
  • S’mores Bars
  • Sweet Potato Cupcakes
  • Tres Leches Cake
  • Vermicelli Cake


Mari Milenkovic, Best Dish & Dessert Awards

Mari Milenkovic, Marketing Coordinator at Wellness and Health Promotion Services, took home the Best Dish and Best Dessert Awards for her Venezuelan Arepas and her Italian Coconut Italian Cream Cake. It’s the second time in three years Milenkovic has won best dessert. She says the spirit of the event keeps her coming back each year.

Most of the people attending enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about each other and the campaign. Scott Mauro, RWC Marketing Coordinator and Co-Chair of the Philanthropy Committee, and member of the UCF United Way Marketing Committee plans the event annually. He says the lunch really speaks to the mission of the United Way Campaign, “The message of the event is community. UCF and Central Florida communities are the focus of the fundraising we do when we Live United in October. What better way to spread the message of helping those in need, by coming together and breaking bread with one another? It’s become a marquee event on the RWC Calendar.”

Danielle Benghiat, student intern with the United Way Campaign, said the sense of community within that room was palpable. You could really see that everyone cared very much for each other. It seemed like a reflection of the work done for and by the United Way.

For more information on the campaign and how you can give or designate your dollars you can visit our website at https://liveunited.ucf.edu or contact 407-823-3094 or liveunited@ucf.edu.


Saxsen Norton, UCF student and member of the RWC Philanthropy Committee, enjoys great food made by her peers and co-workers during the RWC’s annual Lunch around the World.