University Employees Prepare 20,000 Meals for Arkansas Families in Need

Jason Howard of University Development seals another packet of rice during an assembly line that pack 20,000 meals for local food banks..
Photos by Chieko Hara, University Relations

Jason Howard of University Development seals another packet of rice during an assembly line that pack 20,000 meals for local food banks..

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A group of University of Arkansas employees used an assembly-line process to pack 20,000 meals for local food pantries in about an hour. The volunteers used more than 1,200 pounds of Arkansas rice to assemble and bag 20,000 cheesy rice and vegetable meals to help feed Arkansans in need.

The effort, sponsored by University Advancement, was coordinated by The Pack Shack, a local nonprofit organization that supports increasing awareness about hunger issues, providing food and other items to people in need and encourgaging people to get involved with the nonprofits that serve their local communities.

"The University of Arkansas is a great partner for us and we're very thankful for all the U of A employees who participated, fulfilling their mission to serve Arkansas while helping advance our mission to combat food insecurity in our area and beyond," said Ashton Cate, party operations manager for The Pack Shack. "These are really fast-paced events — we call them 'feed the funnel parties.' And really, what makes you feel better than helping others?"

The more than 100 staff members who participated were divided into teams and given specific duties, mixing and packing multiple ingredients into bags for individual meals, then boxing them up for pickup by local food pantries.

"This was such a rewarding experience," said Mark Power, vice chancellor for university advancement. "I appreciate our staff members and other volunteers for supporting this effort. It's really amazing how much good can be accomplished in a short period of time when everyone's working together, focused on the same goal."

University Advancement contributed 25 cents per meal to pay for the ingredients and other needed supplies to facilitate the effort, providing an example of how University Advancement works to support the university's mission while advancing people.

The division's Inclusion and Diversity Team recommended the idea and helped coordinate the volunteer effort.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among fewer than 3 percent of colleges and universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.


Mark Rushing, assistant vice chancellor
University Relations


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