Triangle universities help local organization

August 27, 2008 9:14:36 AM PDT
An event to package a million meals for the Raleigh based organization Stop Hunger Now was held at several Triangle universities Saturday.About 4,000 volunteers from eight colleges spent the day helping to fight world hunger and set a new Guinness Book world record by assembling the meals. The food is helping to feed three countries.

The event kicked off the first weekend back to school at UNC Chapel Hill and instead of spending the day celebrating; thousands rolled up their sleeves volunteering-packaging a million meals to help fight world hunger.

"It's just really exciting to think we're packing this and there's so much manpower involved. It's such a great thing to know every meal goes to a person out there," UNC freshman Burcu Bozkurt said. "It's just like all the people who are here want to help."

Similar packing scenes played out at NC State and ECU with one goal --adding soy, rice, dehydrated vegetables, and a vitamin tablet into a bag to ship overseas.

"Each bag you see being packaged makes six meals," Stop Hunger Now CEO Rod Brooks said.

But it was not just students volunteering, kids were helping out too.

"I heard that people every few seconds dies. I heard that on stage on the introduction and I'm really sorry for that," Sonio Kum, 8, from Chatham County said.

Each of the meals cost 20 cents to package and all of the money was donated by corporate sponsors for a total of 200 thousand.

"They're going to be sent from here around the world to Haiti, El Salvador, and India," Brooks said. "The meals are specifically designed for underfed and malnourished individuals, so it really gives them the majority of the micronutrients they need."

A gong rings out each time 10,000 meals are packed and by the end of the first three hour shift at UNC more than 160,000 were ready to be sent off.


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