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Students raise funds to feed the hungry

Continuing its multi-year partnership with Hope for Dinner, North Central University students will be changing up their diet this week to raise money for hunger relief in Somalia.

The fundraiser is being promoted on campus by the social entrepreneurship student organization, Enactus. Here’s how it works:

  • Instead of eating from the regular menu in the student cafeteria, students may elect to eat rice and beans for up to four lunches.
  • A portion of the difference is donated by North Central University’s food service provider, Pioneer, to pay for meals packed by a partner organization.
  • The packed meals will be designated to reach Somalis in Africa whose food supply has been affected by severe drought conditions.
  • For every student meal exchanged for rice and beans, 10 meals will be provided for hunger relief in Africa.

According to their website, Hope for Dinner allows participants to engage in biblical justice on behalf of those who are poor and hungry. By exchanging what people would normally eat for dinner with a modest meal of beans and rice, and donating the amount of money saved, individuals, families, and organizations can provide thousands of meals for those in desperate need.

Enactus student leaders have made arrangements this year for faculty and guest influencers to join students choosing rice and bean meals, for fellowship and conversation centered around hunger and other social and biblical justice issues affecting our times.

One of the guests will be Paul Hurckman ‘96, a North Central alumnus and executive director of Venture, the nonprofit operating Hope for Dinner. Hurckman noted that the North Central/Hope for Dinner initiative is in its fourth year. “Last year we were able to provide 14,170 meals,” Hurckman said. He said that more than 60,000 meals have been provided in the first three years of the initiative, “because the NCU community decided to trade what they would normally eat for lunch, choosing beans and rice, so that others who are less fortunate, can eat as well.”

Supporting Somali neighbors and friends

Minneapolis is home to 25,000 Somalis, including many who live in the Elliot Park neighborhood shared by North Central. Students are especially excited about the Hope for Dinner project and the opportunity to serve Somalis in their homeland.

Tyler Hanna, a junior Marketing and Entrepreneurship major, is president of Enactus and is glad North Central has a way to support NCU’s Somali neighbors. “Given the recent events taking place,” Hanna said, referring to the October bombings in Mogadishu, “we thought this would be a good, tangible way to reach out to a part of our community here.”

Hanna also noted that Enactus’ support of Hope for Dinner was strategic for the student-led organization. “The social mission of Venture and Hope for Dinner aligns well with our mission of social responsibility and bringing together Christian standards of leadership with business skills, experiences, and initiatives,” he said.

Expanding the event internally

In previous years, the Hope for Dinner fundraiser has focused almost exclusively on residence-hall students with meal plans to raise the money. Hanna said that a special effort this year has been made to engage commuters and apartment residents, too, by offering rice and beans for a donation in locations outside of the cafeteria.

Additionally, the initiative provides the opportunity for faculty, staff, and guests to purchase a meal of rice and beans instead of a full cafeteria meal, with the difference also donated. Cafeteria patrons may also donate additional funds to support the initiative.

Stay tuned to North Central-related social media channels throughout the week for creative content promoting the initiative.