Contact: Sasha Steinberg
For the second consecutive year, Mississippi StateÂ students volunteered on October 30 to pack 10,000 nutritious meals in an effort to combat malnutrition and aid in the worldwide fight against hunger.
Taking place in the universityâ€™s Bost Extension Center, the project was sponsored by MSUâ€™s Center for the Advancement of Service-Learning Excellence in collaboration with the Raleigh, North Carolina-based Stop Hunger Now international hunger relief organization.
Meals packed by the studentsâ€”many of whom are enrolled in a True Maroon First-Year Experience courseâ€”will be distributed to those in need around the U.S and abroad.
Weighing between 389-394 grams, each meal bag contains a vitamin packet and combination of dehydrated vegetables, dehydrated soy and rice. According to event organizers, one bag will feed a family of six for one day.
MSU President Mark E. Keenum thanked the students for dedicating time to â€œengage in such a wonderful, worthwhile program that can impact lives.â€
â€œEvery single year, we have tens of millions of peopleâ€”many of whom are young childrenâ€”who perish for one simple reason: they didnâ€™t get enough food to eat,â€ Keenum said. â€œThere are huge challenges for your generation, and I want all of you to think about your future and how you can be leaders who make a difference and impact the world that you are about to inherit.â€
Pat Ware, Program Manager for Stop Hunger Nowâ€™s meal packing location in Jackson, said 25,000 people die every day from hunger and hunger-related illnesses. Every six seconds, a child dies from hunger, he added.
â€œThink about how many people fit into your stadium during a home football game. It would only take about four days to fill it up with the amount of people that perish from just not having enough food,â€ Ware said.
Ware said his organization founded the meal packaging program in 2005 to provide meals to school feeding programs, vocational schools, early childhood education centers, medical clinics and orphanages in high-need areas around the world.
â€œWhen we provide these meals, parents donâ€™t have to make the decision of which child to send to school that day,â€ he said, adding that â€œweâ€™ve seen attendance rates double, triple and even quadruple in some areas.â€
Charley C. Rhea, a freshman mechanical engineering major from Birmingham, Alabama, participated in the event as part of associate dean and professor of engineering James Warnockâ€™s True Maroon First-Year Experience course.
â€œWe were going through this systematically, but when you think about it, thatâ€™s 60,000 people we just fed, and it took us not even an hour to do it,â€ she emphasized.
â€œIâ€™ve never done anything like this, and it was a fun way to make an impact and help people,â€ she added, while recalling the sound of students breaking into the â€œMaroon and Whiteâ€ chant as they packed meals.
This article originally appeared
in the Mississippi State University Newsroom.Â
CASLE was launched in early 2013 as a joint venture between MSUâ€™s Office of the Provost and Extension Service. Promoting university ideals of citizenship and service is its primary mission.
More information on CASLE is found at www.servicelearning.msstate.edu, http://bit.ly/CASLE-FB andÂ twitter.com/CASLE_MSU.
MSU is Mississippiâ€™s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.