Rick Springfield’s “Jesse’s Girl” blared over the loudspeakers in Biermann Athletic Center as a sea of at least one hundred volunteers from Hillsdale College in shower caps, plastic aprons, and clear gloves stood at tables and packaged non-perishable food items at the meal-packing event on Sunday afternoon. As the students animated their tables with laughter and conversation, cups of dry beans, soy protein, chicken flavor packets, and brown rice streamed into clear plastic bags, which volunteers then sealed and stored with the other packaged meals.
The meal-packing event, which brought together volunteers from all over campus and went on for two hours, was the result of a month-long fundraiser by Hillsdale College to feed starving children. Morgan Bolander, one of the team leaders who brought the supplies for the event, said that the meals will all go to an organization called Mission of Hope Haiti.
“The food they’re packaging today is actually going to feed the Haiti kids for the entire school year,” Bolander said. “It’s a huge thing, what Hillsdale is doing.”
Team leaders Bolander and Jason Hecker are part of an organization called Numana, which partners with Mission of Hope Haiti to raise enough money to distribute food to children in Haiti.
“We’re headquartered out of Wichita, Kansas,” Hecker said. “I drove the truck here with all the supplies, materials, and everything needed, and the college provided volunteers and the funding that it took to bring us here.”
Hecker said that the people at Numana joined because they are passionate about “helping others to serve the hungry,” but he also said that he has enjoyed so much more.
“I know personally what’s kept me here and really helped me enjoy every aspect of the job is working with all the volunteers,” he said. “It’s absolutely been wonderful, besides the fact that you’re talking about thousands of kids are getting fed every day that weren’t getting fed before.”
Bolander agreed, saying that the students are changing up to eighty lives.
“College-aged students are packaging food and caring about other people outside,” she said. “It’s a breath of fresh air to be here with college students who are interested in that.”
The students who volunteered at the meal-packing event gave positive feedback on the experience. For freshman Olivia Manocchio, the experience was about serving others.
“I wanted to be able to help people, and this seemed like a great way to do it,” Manocchio said. “This is a lot of fun, especially the music and getting to be with some friends here.
Sophomore Brigid Majmudar agreed, saying that she knew it was going to be enjoyable because of the community.
“It seemed like a fun community thing,” Majmudar said. “And so many people are here…These things are always fun. This is Hillsdale.”