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Pack Away Hunger creates 20,000 meals for Haiti

Members of the Pack Away Hunger organizing committee posing in front of their banner (Photo by Brittany Toney).

The 2017 Pack Away Hunger (PAH) event on Jan. 28 had nearly 90 students pack just over 20,000 meals to be sent overseas and distributed in the local community. 

PAH, done in conjunction with 30 Hour Famine, facilitates the packing of nutritious meals in impoverished countries and areas by student volunteers. There were at least 30 students from 30 Hour Famine participating in PAH during their fast. 12 lines of volunteers stood in an assembly line fashion and constructed each meal step-by-step in a very clean, sterile and organized environment.

Bags of soy protein and rice were poured into plastic boxes at the beginning of each line. The volunteers used a funnel to pour rice, soy protein, vegetables and nutrients one at a time. Then the bag’s weight was leveled out to 14.0 ounces with rice and sealed with a press. The boxes of 32 bags each were loaded into the truck to be sent and distributed.

The 2016 PAH was the inaugural event for Ohio Northern University. 40,000 meals were packed in the King Horn Fieldhouse. The entirety of the event was funded by the support of the President’s Office.

This year the size of the event was scaled down to 20,000 meals and took place in the Bear Cave inside the McInstosh Center. The PAH committee received support from campus organizations, including the Panhellenic Council, FIJI and Sigma Phi Epsilon, along with local area businesses. The President’s Office also gave generous support this year for the remaining costs after smaller contributions.

“We chose to donate our meals to Haiti. About 75-percent are going to be sent to Haiti and the remaining 25-percent are going to stay,” said fourth-year pharmacy student and PAH Coordinator Brittany Toney. 

Local area businesses that supported this year’s event expressed a desire for some of the meals to be kept local and be distributed by venues, such as the Ada Restore. The rest are going to be shipped to Haiti. 

Toney explained, “I’m really hoping it is something we can continue and get younger students involved so that it can become an annual event hopefully here on campus.”

Toney and others are working with Religious Life and the President's Office to explore the future financing of the event and the longevity of it to continue engaging the campus community and helping out areas in need of food.       

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