Jesuit students, huddled around tables, filling bags with the sustenance of life, prepared 87,000 meals for hungry children in Zambia. 87,000 of anything is an enormous amount, but to have 87,000 meals, packaged by hand in one day, is a major accomplishment, an accomplishment which will feed 761 orphans for an entire year.
This massive event served as the junior class project this year and was spearheaded by PJ Rasmussen ’18, who has personal connections with the children in Zambia. Attending a program called “Camp Life,” where PJ “spent a week there with the kids,” he learned that all of the kids were disadvantaged orphans who had never had the opportunity to go to school before. After coming back from Zambia, PJ’s family worked tirelessly to sponsor some of the children from Camp Life and enroll them in schools. PJ then endeavored to help and support the children by organizing food for their schools. Supported by his family, PJ began raising money for a drive to feed the children in Zambia.
PJ made a video of himself talking and included “shots of all the kids” which allowed donors “to kind of see what [the children] go through”. The video was sent out on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and it spread, raising in $30,000 worth of funds for the drive.
The funds secured, PJ then partnered with Family Legacy and Feeding Children Everywhere who provided the food that needed to be packed. This food was then packed, with a turnout of around sixty Jesuit juniors coming out to help pack the food in the Terry Center. However, juniors weren’t the only ones who came out to help, the Jesuit Dads of Grads, or JDOGS, who usually run a food event similar to the Feed One Event, came out to help as well when they heard of PJ’s plans. Due to this tremendous turnout, the food was packed in record time and meals were secured for the children in Zambia for an entire year.
The participants were able to pack the meals and work together to help the Zambian children. Banding together for one day, the junior class packed food into astonishingly large amounts of boxes to be sent to feed the hungry. The juniors felt happy about the drive and the impact their one day of work would have on these children.
One junior, Paris Brown remarked, “I felt like I was having a positive influence on [the] hungry and needy.” Another junior, a member of the team who helped set up the event area, Nico Elizondo, said that “once you’re actually doing [the packing] you kind of notice that this bag that’s in my hand will be feeding twelve people one day.” Noticing the immediacy of the event, he further commented that he realized “this thing that you’re doing right now will actually impact someone’s life.”
Through hard work and the support of others, PJ created an event which would secure food for the hungry, an event which helped, as PJ puts it, “see the class come together and kind of live out the motto of Men for Others. It was really cool to get what I was passionate about and connect with the school.”