24 Hours, 85,000 Meals, and Some Awesome Volunteers

 

The members of The Lesotho Nutrition Initiative invented the Pack-a-Thon with a reasonable goal in mind. Like any other pack, we prepared the estimated amount of supplies to reach our goal. 50,000 meals in 24 hours seemed like an attainable number in the context of our previous packs, but I don’t think any of us could have predicted the outcome of this event. By 8 o’clock in the morning on Saturday we had reached our goal of 50,000 meals, and we had done it in just 15 hours. We finally ran out of supplies to continue packing at around 4 o’clock, and our final meal count was 85,128 meals.

Maddy O’Malley, our current present, reflected on her time with LNI and on the packing event: "During my sophomore year, LNI was a couple students with a perfectly crazy idea to fight chronic malnutrition and pack meals for a country that meant so much to us, and now we have packed over half a million meals, with an immense amount of support from the school and these students, which makes us so successful, and made our 24 hour packing event so successful."

Maddy said it best: our success at this packing event and at so many others is dependent on the volunteers who help us. Whether it be students, staff, or the people of the community, we could not have reached such an astounding amount of meals without their help. I spent around 16 hours at the pack, and I noticed so many people staying past the end of their shifts, or even leaving and coming back hours later to keep packing. Amy Brennan and Rachael Fink were two of these wonderful volunteers. Both spoke about the Pack-a-Thon and their experiences with the Lesotho Nutrition Initiative:

“I volunteered for the 24-hour Pack-a-thon with some friends and as soon as I arrived, I felt invited and part of a family. I enjoyed it so much that I went back several times and ended up working for about 15 hours. So glad I did because it was definitely worth it and now I've joined the club and found a new family.” Amy Brennan ‘21

“When I decided to participate in the 24-hour packing event, I was genuinely excited. I had rehearsal all day, and even though I was exhausted, I could not stop thinking about and looking forward to packing meals for LNI. I brought several friends with me and we all had a blast. After being a part of all these events, I am truly excited about the opportunities that lie ahead; being a part of something bigger than yourself is life-changing. Small acts that may seem insignificant to others are what are changing the world. LNI has made a lasting impact on the Lesotho community, as well as making one on the community at Wittenberg. Smiling, to me, is the best part about life and to be a part of bringing smiles to other people is both a privilege and an honor.” Rachael Fink ‘20

Because of volunteers like these, our mission becomes more and more possible. As an organization, we are incredibly thankful for the volunteers of Springfield, and for the volunteers at all other packs. It is exciting to see that our mission has impacted these students and so many other volunteers, and we are always ready to add to our LNI family. Although exhausting, this 24-hour Pack was filled with joy and excitement. As Maddy O’Malley put it, “It was the happiest exhaustion I've ever felt.” Next year, LNI will hold a new goal of 100,000 meals at the Pack-a-Thon, and we hope you will join us in this exciting new task.

-Destiny Paulen '21