WILMINGTON, North Carolina – UNCW students and community volunteers will have an opportunity to reduce world hunger in a unique way by packing meals for children and families worldwide during the annual Stop Hunger Now project on Saturday (Nov. 16) at Hanover Hall.

The Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) is partnering with the Office of Student Leadership and Engagement (OSLE) and Greek Life Samaritans in the project. Students and community volunteers will work in three-hour shifts to pack 285,000 meals in the facility to help people suffering from hunger internationally.

“This is a wonderful event that really puts things in perspective,” said Jamie Russell, assistant director of OSLE. “When packaging these meals, many realize this might be the only thing the person will eat that day, and it’s inspiring.”

Russell hopes to have 1,000 helpers during the 12-hour day. “We’ve already filled the first shift, and that is pretty exciting,” she added. “We had about 400 volunteers last year, and we packed 100,000 meals. Everybody had a lot of fun, so we decided to triple it this year.”

All groups and individuals are invited to volunteer. The remaining shifts run from 12-3 p.m., 3-6 p.m., and 6-9 p.m., with “super volunteers” earning food and a T-shirt by helping the entire day.

“We are pleased with this partnership with OSLE and our student-athletes are looking forward to helping this great cause by rolling up their sleeves to help those in need,” said Will Libous, advisor for SAAC. “Our student-athletes take pride in working with the Wilmington community on projects like this.”

Members of the baseball, women’s tennis and women’s golf teams will participate.

The six-serving meals have a shelf-life of two years and include rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables, and a flavoring mix with 21 vitamins and minerals. The meals are generally distributed in schools to promote education for the recipients.

There will be a food drive at the affair for those who would like to combat world hunger, but may not have the time to commit to the project. Those interested are encouraged to bring canned food items or money to the event for the relief efforts. “Each of these meals only costs 25 cents and every one of them may save someone’s life,” Russell said.

Stop Hunger Now was founded in 1998 by UNCW alumnus Ray Buchanan to end world hunger, and started the meal packaging program in 2005. The organization’s mission statement is simply “To end world hunger,” and through the generosity and selflessness of the volunteer community more than 114 million meals have been packaged since 2005, fighting hunger in 65 countries.

Groups interested in serving as volunteers may register at: http://appserv01.uncw.edu/SelectSurveyNET/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=92MJ7o3K.

Individuals can sign up by clicking: http://appserv01.uncw.edu/SelectSurveyNET/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=m63J9o95

Those who can volunteer for the entire day are asked to contact Russell at russelljl@uncw.edu with their availability.