‘Stop Hunger Now’ packages 17,000 meals
150 students participate in service project before classes begin
Published: Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 23:08
Clad in hairnets and plastic gloves, 150 new and returning students and leaders from the Aggie Orientation Leadership Program (AOLP), gathered on Tuesday in the Memorial Student Center for Stop Hunger Now — an inaugural Gig ‘Em week service project.
The students prepared 17,000 meals that were packaged to support ‘Stop Hunger Now’, an international hunger relief agency that has fed children and families in more than 43 countries. To keep the energy level high, music played while students worked and a gong sounded each time a thousand meals were finished being boxed.
The packaged meals — each costing twenty-five cents — contained items such as dehydrated rice, soy, vegetables and packets of 21 essential vitamins and minerals to provide nutrition to those in need.
Funds to purchase meals were raised through ‘Donate-a-Dime’ which was introduced to students at their the New Student Conferences.
At each New Student Conference, students and family members were encouraged to donate one dime in order to reach a goal of $4,250, by the end of the summer’s last Conference.
In years past, AOLP has promoted a cause for new students to raise funds. But Tuesday marked the first service project students had the opportunity to be directly involved.
“For years, AOLP has collected change during the New Student Conference through the Donate-a-Dime Program at the close of our day one evening programs, but we wanted to do more than raise funds for a worthy cause,” said Carrie Bierck, assistant coordinator to New Student and Family programs. “We wanted to give students the opportunity to have a hands-on experience with service.”
Bierck said AOLP’s fundraising goal was surpassed due to the generous support from new Aggies. All additional funds will be donated to the Stop Hunger Now organization.
“We have had a chance to interact with the newest members of the Aggie family throughout the summer,” she said. “I can say that they are a spirited and committed class.”
Although not limited to freshmen, primarily new students attended the event, all eager and ready to serve.
“It feels good because you are helping people, that is really important to me,” freshman biology major Carol Ndiritu said. “It’s a great way to get involved.”
Pat Ware, assistant program manager with Stop Hunger Now’s Jackson, Miss., warehouse, said it was encouraging to see students willing to work together while simultaneously having the opportunity to create relationships with other new students.
“I always enjoy college events,” Ware said. “We’re growing as an organization. We started out in churches and now we’re branching out to different corporations and universities.”
AOLP orientation mentor Alex Smith assisted with the event’s organization, helping create a vision for Tuesday’s service project. Smith said he was amazed by the success of the event and that student turnout for the event “exceeded expectations.”
“Hopefully this will become a new tradition as part of humanitarian projects for future A&M students,” Smith said.