Forty-five minutes before the noon finish time, someone hit a gong with a cry: “20,000 meals!”
Approximately 130 students, capped with plastic hair nets and busy assembling meals in the Biermann Athletics Center on Saturday, cheered. In just two hours, they had reached their goal and then some: packaging 22,032 meals, more than enough to feed 80 children in Haiti for an entire school year.
Hillsdale College’s GOAL Program and Numana Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to packaging meals for people around the world, held the event. Numana sent representatives and supplies to the college, and Hillsdale raised the money and gathered the volunteers.
Senior Jessie Fox and junior Zack Schultz initiated the campus-wide project, after visiting Haiti in January.
“For Hillsdale to be able to come together and — just in our student body — raise enough money and bring together all these people here to change kids’ lives and package all these meals is an incredible opportunity,” Schultz said.
GOAL had to raise $6,000 to pay for the meals, which consists of rice, pinto beans, soy protein, and a vitamin pack. Each meal costs 30 cents. The final $200 to cover the remainder of the meals was donated during the event.
“It’s one of the smoothest events I’ve worked,” said Morgan Bolander, a Numana event leader, adding she was happy with how things were going even though only about 130 students showed up, slightly less than the 170 expected.
Numana will deliver the meals to school children in Haiti through Mission of Hope International, a Christian charity that ministers, educates, feeds, provides medical care for, and grows food for people in Haiti, Bolander said.
Senior Alexis Garcia, the GOAL program director, said this project was one of few campus-wide events GOAL has ever held and it was the most successful.
“It’s a good way to get all of campus working for a greater cause,” she said.
Schultz said he hopes events like this will continue in the future and perhaps even get students involved on the ground in Haiti, as well.
“I see this as a beginning point,” he said. “Hopefully, this is an annual thing. We’re just grateful to God that he provided everything for this event.”