Volunteers pack over 25,000 meals at 17th annual ‘Rise Against Hunger’ meal packing event 

Faculty, staff, and students gathered in Alumni Gym on Saturday, Sept. 3, to pack meals that will be distributed across the globe.  

Nearly 200 volunteers filled Alumni Gym on Saturday, Sept. 3, with one common goal in mind: to pack as many meals as possible.

Since it began in 2008, the “Rise Against Hunger” meal packing event has become an annual tradition at Elon. The event offers a unique opportunity for student organizations, faculty and staff to collaborate on an impactful service project. This year was the first time in the last three years that the event was held to its full capacity, without pandemic restrictions.

A student holding up a package of rice that is included in the mealAmong the participants were groups from the men’s and women’s basketball teams, the women’s track and field team, the Service Living Learning Community, and the Change Maker Scholars. All the volunteers brought their energy and enthusiasm to the event and cheered each time a gong rang to signify that another 1,000 meals had been packed.

“I love this event because it has been able to be a catalyst for getting students involved and getting to see the different groups of students that find interest in it,” said Assistant Director of the Kernodle Center for Civic Life Abigail Wiatrek, who coordinated this year’s event.

The volunteers stood at different stations as they scooped ingredients, weighed and sealed bags, and packed the finished meals into boxes in an assembly line style. They packed meals from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., and after six hours, they had packed more than 25,000 meals.

Students filling up bags of rice to be included in packaged meals
Students packed more than 25,000 meals at the Sept. 4 Rise Against Hunger event in Alumni Gym.

Meals will be distributed around the globe through school feeding programs, orphanages and medical clinics to help break the cycle of poverty by providing nutritious meals in conjunction with education, skill development, and health care.

“I think a lot of the love that this event gets comes from the way that it can engage many different people. It can accommodate such large numbers and gives the opportunity to explore what it can mean to do service and find a passion for it,” said Wiatrek. “Beyond that, the energy that is had within the space is one of understanding that this work is not just for service hours but actively making meals and showcasing the way that we are able to provide for others.”

The event was sponsored by Elon Volunteers, the Campus Kitchen at Elon University, Office of Residence Life, and Kernodle Center for Civic Life.

For those who are interested in future service opportunities, Elon Volunteers promotes their upcoming events in their weekly newsletter. Additionally, events are uploaded on Give Pulse, a central hub for volunteer events and service opportunities.