Before the spring semester even started, dozens of students joined a community service project with an ambitious goal – to package one million meals for hungry children in just 12 hours.
The students flocked to the Drexelbrook Event Center on January 15 with hundreds of other volunteers to participate in the Million Meal Pack-A-Thon on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a national holiday that is dedicated to public service.
The event lasted from 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. with assembly-line teams mixing measured amounts of rice, soy, beans, and spices into packages that were heat-sealed and boxed for delivery.
Megan Camp, director of service learning and community engagement, organized Neumann’s shift, which lasted from 1-3 p.m.
Kids Against Hunger United created the event. A non-profit humanitarian organization, KAH United’s mission, according to its website, is to “feed the hungry through food sharing, advocacy and community engagement.” The group helps “impoverished children, individuals and families around the world and around the corner ... move from food insecurity to self-sufficiency.”
Since its founding by Heather Griesser LaPierre in August of 2015, the organization has packed and delivered more than 10 million meals.
Neumann has hosted several KAH United meal-packing events in the past, including one on March 9, 2022, when more than a hundred student and faculty volunteers packaged and heat-sealed 15,072 meals for Ukrainian refugees who had fled to Poland to escape Russian bombing. The daylong effort prepared the meals at the Bruder Life Center, part of the university’s activities during Charter Week.
Community service is an integral part of the Franciscan tradition, embodying the advice often attributed to Saint Francis: “Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.”