UW-Stout students, faculty, staff and community members will pack the ballrooms of the Memorial Student Center to help fight hunger. The Spring Into Service Meal Pack-a-thon with local Rotary International clubs will be held Wednesday, March 6.
Jennifer Lee, associate director of the Memorial Student Center, said the goal is to pack 25,000 meals in four production lines. Close to 4,200 meal bags, with each bag serving six people, will be assembled with a dry rice meal that includes soy, vitamins and protein.
“We’re just really excited to have an on-campus service opportunity, especially for students who don’t have the chance to travel. It’s a very appealing opportunity to help kids and families,” Lee said.
About 75 percent of the bags will stay in Dunn County at food pantries such as Stepping Stones, Feed My People and other sites. Lee noted that, nationally, about 10 percent of college students use food pantries.
UW-Stout is providing the space and coordinating the volunteers. Rotary is providing the equipment and event coordination. The food is being paid for by Mayo Clinic, WESTconsin Credit Union and Xcel Energy.
Volunteers — 170 slots are available — will pack the meals in three hourlong shifts beginning at 2:25 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 4:35 p.m. Among the volunteers will be Chancellor Bob Meyer. The event is open to everyone, including individuals and groups. Volunteers are asked to register.
Rotary has coordinated recent pack-a-thons in the area at Andersen Corp., Vets Plus, Conagra, Eau Claire Community event, Eau Claire Regis, Mayo Clinic and other sites. In June 2018, the Menomonie and Eau Claire Rotary clubs reached a milestone of packing over 1 million such meals, according to Sue Traxler, UW-Stout assistant chancellor for Learning and Information Technology/CIO and a Rotary member.
Menomonie Girl Scouts assemble meals during a recent Rotary pack-a-thon.