The University of Richmond’s Stop Hunger Now supporters will gather on Feb. 23 to package nearly 13,000 meals to be shipped worldwide.
The meal-packaging event will bring together volunteers to learn about hunger and put together meals, said Pooja Patel, a sophomore on the UR Stop Hunger Now leadership team. Volunteers work in an assembly line to fill bags with rice, soy protein, dried vegetables, vitamins and spice packets, creating a nonperishable and nutritious meal that could serve four to six people, Patel said.
“It’s a very tangible way to get connected with a cause,” said Samantha van Putten, a senior on the leadership team. There will be music to keep things interesting while volunteers pack, and after every thousand packages, a gong will chime for a small celebration, she said.
Before the packing begins there will be a short presentation to answer questions about why everyone is there, where the meals will go and how this is going to be a long-lasting solution, said senior Shelby Longland, who is also on the leadership team.
“The project’s more sustainable than just giving people food,” Longland said. “It’s an incentive for parents to send their kids to school because the meals are given to children at school. It promotes education, too.”
This is the third year of this event on campus. The first year, volunteers packaged 20,000 meals that were sent to a school in India. Last year, 13,000 meals were packaged and sent to a school in South Sudan, Patel said. The food is sent wherever there is a need, so the destination for this year won’t be determined until a week before the actual event, van Putten said.
To get involved with the meal-packaging event, you can sign up for a wait list. They have already reached capacity with 140 people, so donations are the most important way people can help, van Putten said. “The event receives only as much food as the leadership team can raise money for. Each packaged meal costs 25 cents, and the goal this year is to package 13,000 meals, Patel said. But they are about 1,400 meals short of that goal, she said.
The leadership team is continuing to fundraise up until the meal-packaging event. Donations will be accepted on Bannerweb through Onecard services, as well as in person at tables in the Tyler Haynes Commons. On Feb. 14, there will also be a profit share with Sweet Frog, off of Libbie Avenue, where 20 percent of the day’s proceeds will be donated to the meal-packaging event, Patel said. All you have to do is mention Stop Hunger Now when you pay, and part of your purchase will go toward helping the cause, she said.
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