You may think that curing world hunger is just a beauty pageant promise, but Service NC State takes that cliché and turns it into a reality. On Saturday, August 22, Carmichael Gym was overflowing with students, faculty, and others from the Raleigh community, ready to change the world.
CSLEPS (Center for Student Leadership, Ethics, and Public Service), in conjunction with Stop Hunger Now, have hosted Service NC State since 2006. Though open to anyone, Service NC State is designed to welcome new students, while making an impact in a local and global spectrum.
This was my first year attending, and simply hearing the passion and conviction in the coordinators’ voices inspired us all to believe that we can really make a difference. “We are going to create a social movement to end hunger!” Auburn University representatives exclaimed. This food will help feed struggling nations’ schools and orphanages around the world, such as Ghana and El Salvador. Soon after the introduction, a tutorial video was played on the projector showing how to properly package the food and boxes. Everyone was split into assembly line groups in order to send out the most food at the fastest pace. I worked at the first station, the Funnel Station; here, volunteers poured dehydrated, high-protein foods into bags that contain 220 energy calories per meal and six servings. The bags featured soy, vegetables, a chicken flavored vitamin tablet (especially beneficial for malnourishment), and rice. Sustainers were designated to refill the empty containers. Runners transported bags to the weighing station. The bags had to be between 380 and 385 grams; rice was added or taken from them to achieve the appropriate weight. Next, Sealers squeezed the excess air and heat seal the bags to be boxed. The bags were then labeled with ‘best used by:’ and loaded into the truck by more volunteers.
A rewarding yet sometimes startling symbol of progress was the sounding of a gong for every 10,000 meals packaged. This encouraged volunteers to keep going and keep up the pace, because soon we would reach our goal of 1 million meals!
Students and organizations also donated funds and raised $28,000 by the end of the 1st shift. Miya Plummer, a 3-time volunteer felt like she actually did something productive. Jihan Cole, volunteering for the first time, stated that she most definitely would do Service NC State again next year. Colleen Gillis, on behalf of Delta Sigma Theta Incorporated, reflects, “It is important to give back, and especially for new students to experience in the culmination of Welcome Week.”
According to Mike Giancola, director of CSLEPS, efforts like these decrease child labor, and increase attendance in schools around the world. The UN believes that we can cut hunger in ½ by 2015. For more information go to: www.stophungernow.org and http://www.ncsu.edu/csleps/service/servicenc.htm.