ECU News Services

Sarah Shack, left, and Megan Buller, help prepare meals during ECU’s Million Meal Event that packaged more than 60,000 meals for hungry people in Haiti. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

ECU Million Meal Event packs meals for Haiti

By Karen Shugart

Volunteers packaged more than 60,000 Haiti-bound meals during East Carolina University’s Million Meal Event on Aug. 28.

About 340 people, mostly students, congregated at the Boys and Girls Club on Firetower Road to assemble the packages, said Shawn Holland Moore, community partner coordinator for the Volunteer and Service-Learning Center, which organized the event.

Keaton Henry seals a bag in preparation for it to be boxed. This marked the event’s third year at ECU.

Moore said the event went well. Organizers played 80s dance music to keep the mood light, but volunteers took their roles seriously. “They were just so serious about packing the meals,” Moore said.

Volunteers worked in two shifts, after which they discussed what they can do locally to help end hunger. Can they volunteer at a food bank? Organize a drive?

“The Center continues to shine a light on hunger issues both locally and internationally,” Moore said. “Even though it’s an international packaging event, the whole theme is, ‘Think Locally, Act Globally.’”

This marked the third year that ECU Million Meal Event volunteers packaged meals for hungry people through a partnership with Stop Hunger Now, an N.C.-based nonprofit that supports sustainable food programs in 79 countries.

Fundraising suffered this year because of the economy. Both corporate sponsorships and individual donations had decreased, Moore said.

Yet hunger has not. More than 1.02 billion people worldwide do not have enough to eat — more than the populations of the United States, Canada and the European Union combined, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization. Every six seconds, a child dies from malnutrition or related causes.

The meals packed at the Aug. 28 event contain rice, dehydrated vegetables, protein powder, chicken flavoring and 21 essential vitamins and minerals.

This story appeared originally in the Sept. 24, 2010 issue of Pieces of Eight. An archived version of that issue is available at