My First Pack

A big room filled with tables of grain and freeze dried veggies. That’s what I saw when I first stepped through the doors of the “Bear Cave” at Ohio Northern University. I could only wonder what I would be up to at my first packing event with The Lesotho Nutrition Initiative.

I know this is new to you, it’s new to me too, so we’ll learn together.

If you’re here it’s safe to assume you know where Lesotho is, but in case you don’t, it’s right here:

Map courtesy of BBC News

Map courtesy of BBC News

Now that I think about it, I’m not sure our little blip of love is ever really labeled on maps. But now you know. This is Lesotho, and it’s why we do what we do.

Back to Ohio Northern though. Like I said, this was my first packing event. I had no idea that not only would students show up, but faculty and their families, sports teams, and Greek life alike would stand side by side to support this tiny country and their own community.

On Saturday, January 28, 2017 the first packing event held by The Lesotho Nutrition Initiative began at 1 o’clock in the afternoon in the “Bear Cave” at Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio.

The goal on this day was to pack 20,000 meals. Seventy-five percent of the meals were to be Africa bound and the other 25% would be sent to a local food bank.

“Boss-Man says we have 9,000 on the truck,” one volunteer told me. That’s right, about half-way through the event, the group of determined students and faculty had already packed 9,000 meals. I was stunned. I knew our goals, I had heard them over and over again, but the height of the numbers always shocked me anyway.

I joined a line doing the job I felt least likely to mess up, flattening the bags to make sure they fit in the box. There were two layers of three rows of six. That’s 36 bags in each box. This was a science.

“It’s humbling,” said Kara Horvath, a student at Ohio Northern. Horvath helped to organize a campus wide fast where around 50 students fasted and approximately 15 of them packed meals during the event. When asked what it was like to pack food for others when she herself hadn’t eaten in almost two days, Horvath said only this, “Some people don’t know when their next meal is coming, I’m done fasting at 6.”

When finally, the event came to a close, the total meals packed was 20,200 meals packed and about 14,500 of them were going to head to Lesotho to aid the people there who expect the second draught in a row this year.

Written by Francesca Janes