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Amherst LEADS Gives Back, Packages 10,000 Meals
article by Caroline Broder '15 & Nell Patterson '15
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Amherst LEADS brought Stop Hunger Now to campus this past week as part of their “Caring Deeply” event. Over 100 first-year student-athletes gathered in Alumni Gym on Tuesday March 25th to learn about Stop Hunger Now, and work collaboratively to package over 10,000 meals for school children in impoverished areas of the world and learn about community engagement at Amherst. The first-year students worked like a well-oiled machine completing their 10,000 meal goal in about 45 minutes. In usual Amherst Athletics fashion, the first-years quickly learned how to work together and package the meals with precision and efficiency. The athletes especially enjoyed the gong-ringing after each 1,000 meals packaged, encouraging them towards their final goal.
Stop Hunger Now is an international hunger relief organization that coordinates the distribution of food and other lifesaving aid to children and families all over the world. The organization’s mission is “to end hunger in our lifetime by providing food and life-saving aid to the world's most vulnerable and by creating a global commitment to mobilize the necessary resources.” Using an assembly line process, first-year athletes packaged small meal packets containing rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and a flavoring mix including 21 essential vitamins and minerals. Stop Hunger Now commits 70% of its packaged meals to support transformational development programs, such as school feeding programs, which help to better the lives of children through education, skill development, health care, and much-needed nutrition.
The “Caring Deeply” event was the production of collaboration between the Center for Community Engagement (CCE), Amherst LEADS and the Athletics Department. Amherst Athletics maintains a commitment to developing well-rounded athletes, and believes events such as the LEADS “Caring Deeply” gathering help reinforce the importance of community engagement within athletics. One hundred percent of Amherst varsity teams participate in community engagement in the surrounding Amherst community each year. In addition to the first-year athletes, the Athletics Liaisons of the CCE also participated in the event and introduced the athletes to the concept of high-quality community engagement that the CCE strives to fulfill. Some of the first-year student-athletes at the event are also members of the Athletics Team Engagement Leader program (ATEL), an initiative of the Athletics Liaisons to train one member from each varsity and club sports teams to motivate their teams surrounding community engagement. All in all, the first-year student-athletes left the event having packaged 10,000 meals for children in need, and gained a wider understanding of how to care deeply about their own Amherst community.