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100,000 meals — no problem





Kelly Nuckolls knew finding 400 volunteers to put together meals for the SWIPE Out Hunger Food event Saturday in Fort Hays State University's Forsyth Library wouldn't be difficult.

But with each meal costing 23 cents, she wasn't sure about raising the money to package 100,000 meals.

"I knew we could get volunteers here because last year I had to turn people away," said Nuckolls, student coordinator for the Global Leadership Project and American Democracy Project.

Last year, the first for the event, 160 volunteers packaged 21,987 meals.

Fundraising, which included two hunger banquets, also proved to be no hurdle.

FHSU Provost Larry Gould set the goal of 100,000 meals.

"He wanted us to show that Fort Hays is really committed to this issue," Nuckolls said.

"Fort Hays has been a supporter from day one, and the local student group that's coordinated it has done a phenomenal job," said Jay Lewis, Numana international partnership development director.

A total of 493 volunteers signed up, and volunteers worked at tables set up in nearly every available space on the library's main floor.

Nuckolls estimated approximately three-fourths of them were FHSU students and the remainder were community volunteers.

"Numana brings all the food and supplies," Nuckolls said.

Numana is a nonprofit organization based in El Dorado that focuses on international hunger relief.

"We try to get on as many college campuses as we can in October to bring awareness about hunger," Lewis said.

The meals include soybeans, freeze-dried pinto beans and rice, as well as 24 vitamins and minerals, he said.

Thirty-six packets go in each box, which are loaded onto the Numana truck.

They will go to feed the hungry in either Africa or Colombia, Lewis said.

Wade Hawkinson, an FHSU junior, was volunteering as a member of the cereal, fiber and oil crops class.

"It's good to volunteer and help other people out," he said.

"We talk about production of cereal, fiber and oil crops, but it's also important for students to get the connection between what they're producing and what it's doing -- in this case feeding people," said Jean Gleichsner, who teaches the class.

Gleichsner said she wants the students to develop an appreciation for community activities.

"A lot of these students will go home to small communities, and they're going to have to pitch in, in order to make sure that the communities sustain themselves. It's important for students to look beyond themselves and understand how they can make a difference."