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Feed the hunger gives students chance to make a difference

Photo Courtesy of Mary Katherine Perry

Recently an incredible number of students have started volunteering for Feed the Hunger. 

Feed the Hunger is a children’s outreach program that feeds starving children in places like Africa, Haiti and Bangladesh. 

The organization holds Pack-A-Thon events throughout the country, bringing people together to pack food. 

Ole Miss has the exciting distinction of being the first ever college campus to host a Pack-A-Thon. 

Since September, Feed the Hunger members have been working towards their goal of recruiting 700 volunteers to pack 135,000 servings of food for starving children in Kenya. The packaged meals contain chicken, dry vegetables, rice and soy – the number one protein.

Each meal costs $0.26, which means Feed the Hunger must raise $35,100 to meet their goal. 

Thus far, money has been made through donations, sponsorships, T-shirt sales and the members of the packing team. However, nearly $20,000 still needs to be raised. 

Feed the Hunger members are hoping to raise a significant amount of money through the fundraiser at the Library on Feb. 16 after the Auburn basketball game. All proceeds from the $10 cover will go to Feed the Hunger. 

Teams are formed by churches, community organizations, businesses, schools and individual volunteers. To participate, each team is asked to raise $1,040, or $70 per team member to pay for the production, shipping and distribution of the food overseas. 

Several on-campus organizations have gotten involved with Feed the Hunger. 

Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society assisted in selling T-shirts and has formed multiple teams. 

They have also been active in promoting the campaign. 

“I want the Ole Miss campus and Oxford community to know about this great event because we will need many people to make it a success,”  Gamma Beta Phi president Brittany Simpson said.

Many sororities and fraternities have also gotten involved; Sigma Chi has already donated $1,000. Pi Kappa Alpha is holding a Powderpuff event the weekend of Feb. 18-19. Local charity More than a Meal has also helped with efforts, forming teams and promoting the event. 

The Ole Miss Feed the Hunger campaign was the brainchild of a group of girls who traveled to Kenya last summer with New Directions International. 

Senior Mary Katherine Perry was compelled to bring Feed the Hunger to Ole Miss when she saw the food that gets shipped to Africa. 

“Seeing it actually take place rather than just hearing about it had a deep impact (on all the girls),” Perry said. 

More specifically, seeing exactly who the food goes to and spending time in rural tribes and the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya had a deep impact. 

Senior Audrey Dickerson said she “couldn’t get the images from the largest slum in the world” out of her head.

During their visit, they knew they could not come back to the U.S. without taking action. 

Many people question why they are so compelled to help malnourished children in Africa when there are starving children right here in America. 

“There is need all over the world and our heart is placed in this,” senior Adrienne Pingel said. “You can only do so much, but it’s important that you’re doing it.” 

Feed the Hunger is not simply handing out meals to random children. 

The parent company of Feed the Hunger, New Directions International, manages hundreds of schools worldwide and helps Feed the Hunger determine which schools are in the most need of aid.

“We are not just providing the neediest of children with a meal, we are also giving them an education and a desire to improve,” sophomore Katherine Russell said.

The impact, however, is not just on the recipients of the schooling and food. 

Pack-A-Thon volunteers will gain a feeling of satisfaction and might be compelled to continue helping out more. 

“Everyone doesn’t have the opportunity to go to Africa, but people want to get involved, and this is their chance,” Pingel said.

It is 100 percent guaranteed that the food will directly reach starving children.

The Ole Miss Pack-A-Thon will be held at the old Walmart building Feb. 25-26. If you do not have a team or cannot raise the $70, give whatever you can – even if it is nothing – just show up to help.