Fort Hays State University students and faculty, together with members of the local community, gathered in Forsyth library last Saturday to package meals for the starving in the Horn of Africa.
"I am proud to announce FHSU packaged 98,526 meals in just three hours on Saturday afternoon," Kelly Nuckolls, an El Dorado senior and one of the organizers of the event, said Tuesday. "What an amazing accomplishment. I am so thankful to go to a university where there are so many engaged students, faculty and community members who care about improving the human condition."
The event was part of SWIPE Out Hunger, a statewide food packaging event among higher education institutions in the state of Kansas to raise awareness during the month of October about world hunger. SWIPE is sponsored by Numana Inc., based in El Dorado.
Thanks to Saturday's effort, FHSU is the leading university in the number of meals packaged among Kansas higher education institutions.
Nuckolls said that Dr. Larry Gould, FHSU provost, suggested last year a goal to package 100,000 meals, which would surpass the University of Kansas's 97,416 from last year's SWIPE events. The Hays effort surpassed KU by more than a thousand meals. Other events will be held at higher education institutions in Kansas during the remainder of the month. Each Numana meal costs just 23 cents to produce and ship.
"In our 110 years as an institution, our school has celebrated athletic and academic national championships," said Dr. Curt Brungardt, Omer G. Voss distinguished professor of leadership studies and director of FHSU's Center for Civic Leadership. "We are also very proud of many of our former students who have accomplished great things and made our school proud. But I would argue those four hours last Saturday in Forsyth Library was our finest yet. Our community reached out to help those in need half a world away."
Brungardt commended Nuckolls and the entire Center for Civic Leadership staff for the event. "In my 27 years on the faculty of FHSU, I have never been more proud of my institution," he said. "It's higher education serving the greater good. In just four hours, we made a huge difference in the lives of others."
Nuckolls expressed her thanks to everyone who contributed to or helped with the event: WaKeeney Church of God, Fort Hays Honor Society, Kansas Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, Great Plains Dermatology, Heartland Dermatology, Forsyth Library, Kansas Campus Compact, Nex-Tech Wireless, Kiwanis Club of Hays, Chartwell's Catering, Pastor Kenton Rohrberg and Messiah Lutheran Church, Student Government Association, Office of the Provost, Numana Inc., KFHS Radio, and Dr. Jean Gleichsner, associate professor of agriculture.
"I would like to thank each and every one of the 458 volunteers from the FHSU community who packaged the meals with enthusiasm and passion and to the 56 volunteers who helped all day Saturday," Nuckolls said.
A video of the event, produced by Becca Kohl, Hays sophomore, is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHWGB-WNpxc&feature=plcp.