Taking a swipe
By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT
More than 300 volunteers from the Fort Hays State University community and other individuals met Saturday in Fort Hays State University's Forsyth Library to prepare meals for the less fortunate locally and internationally.
Pop music pumped out of a stereo as they staffed 12 assembly line stations. Freeze-dried pinto beans, soy, rice, minerals and vitamins were sorted, bagged and sealed into boxes. A gong boomed to indicate 10,000 meals were reached in just 34 minutes. The total was in constant flux as table leaders barked out when each box was finished.
Brenna Johnson, an FHSU senior and Global Leadership Project student coordinator, said the Swipe Out Hunger event aimed to provide 45,000 meals. Orchestrated to help Numana Inc., the student group raised $12,500 with money from its own reserves, the Student Government Association and sponsors for ingredients and shipping.
"Students love it. It's an easy volunteer project, so students can give up an hour of their day to come, be on a team. They can be with their friends, package meals," Johnson said. "It's an upbeat environment. It's just a lot of fun."
Lindsay Mills, Numana director, said the global packages will feed school children in El Salvador.
"Lot of studies have come out -- hungry kids don't learn," she said. "And so making sure they're able to have full bellies so they can learn (is important), and hopefully that's the end of the poverty cycle in those villages."
Mills praised the FHSU students for leading the effort from the planning stage to fundraising to bagging the meals.
"It makes this group really, really special that they take it from beginning to end and bring all their friends," she said.
Seth Kastle, an FHSU faculty member in the department of leadership studies, brought his 5-year-old daughter, Raegan, to be involved in the process. He wanted her to recognize the importance of service.
"I told her coming over that she was going to help feed people that were her age," he said.