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The Scarlet & Black

Student group volunteers to fight hunger

This Sunday from 4 to 5 p.m., Grinnell students will be gathering at 1013 Broad St. to package meals for Kids Against Hunger (KAH).

“Kids Against Hunger is a non-profit international food relief program, which sends dry-packaged chicken casserole meals to malnourished children around the world,” wrote Steven Petritis ’15, a college representative of KAH, in a written publication.

Grinnell College has been involved with KAH for seven years. Each semester, KAH holds two packaging events where teams of 12 volunteers work together to package meals to be sent all around the globe. KAH also donates some of the meals to Mid-Iowa Community Action, Inc. (MICA), the local food shelter.

While the event this weekend begins at noon, Grinnell’s shift does not start until 4 p.m.

“We have … the final time slot, so we can help finish packing up the food, and then we can take all the different boxes that have been packaged and we help them load onto the trucks to be sent away,” Petritis said.

Last semester, for the first time, Grinnell was able to provide enough volunteers to form three teams of 12 instead of their usual two. This year is an important year for the event because not only is Grinnell expanding their program in size, they are also aiming to diversify the program. In the past, the students that have volunteered have been mostly composed of students involved in athletics on campus.

This year, college representatives Claire Tseng ’14 and Petritis are trying to “receive volunteers from a more diverse group of Grinnell students that are truly representative of the strong diversity of the College,” according to Petritis.

The town of Grinnell has been involved with KAH for over a decade. Mike Bogard ’12 began Grinnell College’s involvement in KAH during his freshman year. He was involved in both baseball and football at the College, which has led to historically heavy involvement in the program from athletes.

“What Claire and I want to do this year with this event moving forward is start branching out the diversity of who volunteers with the program from the College,” Petritis explained. “Because it was started by a baseball player, the baseball team and some other sports teams have been really heavily involved with the volunteering so far.”

The Grinnell chapter of KAH is registered for three volunteer teams, but not all of those teams must be strictly students. Traditionally Grinnell has cooperated with other community teams in KAH packing events. This year’s KAH planners are hoping to restore this cooperative effort by inspiring more off-campus community groups to participate.

“I’m really, really hoping that by the end of this year we’re going to be able to push it up to four teams [total],” Tseng said. “We want more community members to join for us to really, really make this a community event.”

One of the core principles in KAH is bringing communities together in helping others around the world, and including the many smaller groups of Grinnell is integral to KAH’s mission.

“[KAH is] a great way for people to become involved with the community and such. We’ve had a pretty diverse group of other volunteers, but we’re hoping to expand that,” Petritis said.

If you would like to volunteer for the event this Sunday, or have a group on campus that would like to participate in future events, email

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