APSU volunteers package 8,000 meals for those in need in honor of MLK Day of Service 2018
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — Austin Peay State University’s Diversity Committee, in cooperation with the APSU Center for Service-Learning & Community Engagement, partnered with Rise Against Hunger, an international hunger relief non-profit organization, to package and distribute thousands of meals for distribution to those in need on Jan. 19, in honor of APSU’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.
On just the second day of the Spring 2018 semester, Austin Peay student, faculty and staff volunteers gathered at the Foy Fitness and Recreation Center, packing over 8,000 meals over the course of three hours. The packaged meals collected by Rise Against Hunger will be sent to third-world countries suffering from hunger.
“Each and every meal packaged by Austin Peay will be transformational in the life of someone suffering from chronic hunger,” Eric Taft, community engagement manager with Rise Against Hunger, said.
The MLK Day of Service is a nation-wide effort to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through volunteer service. The only federal holiday observed as a national day of service, the MLK Day of Service is seen, organizers say, as an opportunity to remember King Jr.’s history and re-commit yourself as a citizen by volunteering in service.
Dr. Marsha Lyle-Gonga, associate professor of political science and public management and chair of the APSU Diversity Committee, said the meal packing event represented a way for Austin Peay students to honor King Jr.’s legacy and help on a global scale.
“We partnered with Rise Against Hunger in honor of APSU’s MLK Day of Service because of their mission to coordinate the packaging and distribution of food and other life-changing aid,” Lyle-Gonga said. “We were appreciative of all of the (Austin Peay students, faculty and staff) that showed up to participate.”
Rise Against Hunger meal packaging events are a volunteer-based program that coordinate the streamlined packaging of highly nutritious, dehydrated meals comprised of rice, soy, vegetables and 23 essential vitamins and minerals. Arranged in an assembly line, volunteers at each station pack individual parts of the meal before a final group seals and prepares packs for shipping to their final destination.
Alexandra Wills, director for the Center for Service-Learning & Community Engagement, applauded the volunteers’ efforts — a group that included members of Austin Peay’s Global ENGAGE, the University’s volunteer-based living community that unites students interested in personal growth and giving back to their community.
“I’m really happy with the number of meals we were able to pack with this group; they worked non-stop and put together a big effort as a group,” Wills said. “Our volunteer leaders on campus came out and were here from start to finish, even staying after to help tear everything down.”
Rise Against Hunger is committed to mobilizing the necessary resources to end hunger in all its forms by the year 2030. In 2018, more than 400,000 volunteers will help package and distribute 75 million meals to emergency response and community development programs. For more information, visit www.stophungernow.org.
To discover more volunteer opportunities on campus, contact Austin Peay’s Center for Service-Learning & Community Engagement at www.apsu.edu/volunteer.