CCBC baseball team works to strike out hunger
Wednesday, 03 April 2013 14:35

Athletes give back to those in need

by Nicole Rodman

    While many college students were sleeping in on Saturday morning, March 16, the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC), Dundalk baseball team was hard at work fighting hunger.
    Members of the team took time out of their Saturday mornings to package 10,000 meals to send to those in need both in the U.S. and overseas.
    The project, overseen by CCBC communications professor Michael Walsh, was coordinated with help from Stop Hunger Now.

    Founded in 1998, Stop Hunger Now is an international hunger relief agency that sends food packets to needy individuals in 76 countries across the globe.
    According to Stop Hunger Now program manager Andrew Sullivan, who was on hand at CCBC, the organzation’s aim is to “end hunger in our lifetime.”
    Working toward this goal, the group engages volunteers to raise funds toward purchasing food packets to send to those in need.
    Costing just 25 cents, each packet combines rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and a flavoring mix that includes 21 vitamins and minerals.
    The food is portable and easily storable, and it has a shelf-life of five years.
    Not only do volunteers raise funds to pay for the food packets, they also assemble the packets themselves.
    At CCBC Dundalk, Walsh spearheaded the effort to raise money and assemble the packets.
    According to Walsh, the baseball team wanted to participate in the program as “a team-building exercise and to give back to the community.”
    Over the last several months, Walsh and the baseball team raised $2,500 to purchase 10,000 food packets.
    In the CCBC gym, the team got together to assemble each of the 10,000 packets by hand.
    Donning hair nets, gloves and their baseball uniforms, the men of the CCBC Dundalk baseball team spent most of the morning preparing the packages to be sent to hungry individuals both overseas and in the U.S.
    According to Sullivan, much of the food is sent overseas, where it is distributed at schools, vocational training programs, orphanages, and medical clinics.
    Not only does Stop Hunger Now distribute the food, they work to provide the education and resources that can help break the cycle of poverty.
    Stop Hunger Now also provides meals for disaster relief.
    In the past, the organization has sent aid to victims of Hurricane Sandy in New England as well as the victim’s of the devastating earthquakes in Haiti.
    While the CCBC baseball team is packaging food now, it will likely be a month or two before the food is shipped out to its final destination.
    Once it is shipped out, the team will receive information on where the food is going and who it will benefit.
    While all of the students participating in Saturday’s event are baseball players, six of the students are members of Walsh’s service learning class.
    For student Robby Goodroe, project manager and member of Walsh’s class, the class and the Stop Hunger Now project is all about contributing to the wider community.
    “I took the class to help out in the community,” he explained, adding, “This is my way of giving back.”
    For baseball coach Jon Karsos, the project is important in that it shows students the value of serving others.
    As he noted, the purpose of the Stop Hunger Now project is “to show what community college should be about — giving back to the community.”
    As he explained, it is important to show his players that baseball is not just about the game, it is also “about making a difference,” “becoming men” and “building character.”
    With this year’s effort a success, Walsh hopes to expand the project next year.
    As he explained, he would like to challenge more campus groups to participate and, perhaps, even package twice as many meals to send to those in need.
    For more information on Stop Hunger Now, visit www.stophungernow.org.