By Lindsay Perry
Each year PACT (Peace and the Community Together) hosts the annual Martin Luther King Day of Service as an opportunity for students and faculty members to get involved and do something good for their community on a day when classes are canceled.
At this year’s event, held Jan. 18, students packed 10,000 meals for families in need, sewed blankets for the homeless and learned what it’s like to go hungry, among other projects.
Sheri Keasler, who is affectionately called “Mamma Sheri,” participates every year and loves seeing the Peace community come together each and every year.
“At WPU, we are a family,” said Keasler. “We come together to support each other and to support others. Day of Service is one of the many opportunities we provide for students, faculty and staff to pause and reflect on how fortunate we are to have what we have and embrace this opportunity to make a difference in other people’s lives.”
The day of service is an all-day event that begins at 10 a.m. This year it kicked off with a “hunger banquet,” which allowed students to experience what it is like in different income classes. As each student walked in the door they were given a meal card with a real life scenario of a person living in either a high, middle, or low income class.
The high income class got to sit at tables with table cloths and eat a full course meal with dinnerware. The middle income class sat at regular tables and were only fed rice and beans. The low income class had to sit on the floor and were only given rice. It helped all students involved realize what it is like for people in other countries in different scenarios.
After the hunger banquet all of the students and faculty participating split up into teams to volunteer with different organizations doing things like: making no-sew blankets for the homeless, working at the Raleigh City Farm, working with the “WPU Care Crew,” helping organize the warehouse at The Green Chair Project and cutting denim into shoe patterns to send to the Soles for Hope project.
At the end of the day all of the students and faculty met in the Auxiliary Gym to pack 10,000 meals for Stop Hunger Now, an organization that comes to WPU multiple times throughout the year. With all the participants packing, sealing and boxing meals, we were able to pack all 10,000 meals in under two hours.
Sam Johnson, a freshman at WPU, participated in the day of service along with the rest of the basketball team. He had the chance to work at the Green Chair Project moving furniture and helped organize their warehouse.
“I really enjoyed helping people out in the community and they appreciated our work so that makes it worth it,” Johnson said.
WPU’s Day of Service was hosted and planned by the PACT Board members with the help of Lara Lee King, Sheri Keasler and Justin Pini, who all work in Student Services.