Wesley students are always looking for ways to serve on campus and in the community, so when the University of Arkansas Council of Religious Organizations decided to host its annual Pack Shack event this month, Wesley students jumped in to participate! The Pack Shack is a nonprofit organization that seeks to partner with and provide healthy meals for local food banks and other organizations that help fight hunger. On February 23, U of A students from a number of campus ministries, including the Wesley ministry, gathered in the Student Union Connections Lounge in the midst of a busy day of classes to pack meals for those in the community who may not know where they will find their next meal.
The Pack Shack’s “Feed the Funnel” parties are designed to be high energy and fun, with a giant golden gong to hit as milestones are reached and loud music, like Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love”, blaring through the room. Students were smiling and dancing as they worked. They enjoyed getting to know each other as they assembled the meals.
“The event was a wonderful way to connect with the community and create a sense of unity with other students on campus!” shared Wesley sophomore Kaylea Yeakley, who participated in the packing party.
Split up into different stations, students were tasked with working together to fill each bag with rice, dehydrated protein and veggies, vitamins and cheese flavoring. Once filled, bags were then passed on to the next set of stations where they were weighed and sealed. “I kept thinking I have to go faster and faster, so I can make more meals for more people,” explained Wesley freshman Bridget Milam, who helped with one of the packing shifts.
In only two hours, over 10,000 meals were prepared by the students who volunteered, all of which will be distributed locally through partners such as the U of A Full Circle Food Pantry, Potter’s House and LifeSource. Better yet, the body of Christ at the U of A made a witness to both their unity and their heart to serve, visible to every U of A student who walked by the Pack Shack event on their way through the Student Union that day.
If you are interested in learning more about The Pack Shack or hosting a packing event, you can visit their website at www.thepackshack.org.
-Rev. Emily Burch