Confronting Global Hunger
“Please feed me, I’m starving,” a sweet, little girl from Nicaragua said as she climbed into Rick McNary’s lap during a mission trip in 2001. From that moment on, McNary’s life was changed. He knew that something needed to be done in order to help solve the hunger problem that is affecting not only the global population, but in the Little Apple as well.
Rick McNary is the CEO of Numana Inc., an international non-profit hunger relief organization that he championed with one single mission: To empower people to save the starving. McNary was invited to Kansas State University in mid-February as a part of the Lou Douglas Lecture series and delivered a lecture on “Three Keys to Solving Global Hunger”.
“Education, enablement and empowerment,” McNary said, “this is all we need to know and do in order to solve the hunger problem.”
McNary shared his personal accounts of global hunger and spoke about the struggles he faced in initiating the Numana Inc. organization. His words inspired all of those in attendance at the lecture, but McNary is not the only person working hard toward putting a stop to hunger; NLSA, HandsOn Kansas State, Alternative Breaks, Leadership Studies classes and Kansas Campus Compact have also stepped up as leaders in the fight.
“Hunger has been on the hearts and minds of those in the School of Leadership Studies and we are now addressing it from more than one perspective,” Clarissa Sents, Executive Board Member of Nonprofit Leadership Student Alliance, said.
There was a food packaging event held directly after the Lou Douglas Lecture and 5,400 meals of macaroni and cheese were assembled by Kansas State University students and friends to be distributed to the Flint Hills Breadbasket for dissemination in the Manhattan and surrounding communities.
“I’ve never had the opportunity to help with an event quite like this before,” Daniel Mahoney, a food packaging volunteer, said. “Listening to Rick talk about making a difference and then having the chance to get up and physically do something to help out locally was really empowering.”
In addition to the food packaging event, the School of Leadership Studies has helped to mobilize events including Hidden Hunger with HandsOn Kansas State in the fall, Alternative Breaks service trips, and Cats for Cans, a food drive organized by LEAD 212: Introduction to Leadership Studies Concepts classes.
“The School of Leadership Studies is truly bringing the hunger issue full circle,” Lynda Bachelor, HandsOn Kansas State Coordinator, said. “What may have started as one project has turned into multiple different projects in many of the groups we have housed here in the school.”
“We find ourselves asking, what can we do in order to help further the hunger initiative?” Bachelor said. “Hunger is an issue that we have all embraced and everyone is looking for opportunities to do their part in sustaining the movement.”
The Universities Fighting World Hunger (UFWH) Summit and the Kansas Hunger Dialogues are two springtime events focused on creating an environment to discuss sustainable human development, health and well-being for both present and future generations. Kansas Campus Compact (KsCC) is headquartered at the School of Leadership Studies and served as a sponsor for the UFWH Summit as well as hosted the 2013 Kansas Hunger Dialogue. KsCC is a group that promotes service-learning and civic engagement efforts in order to educate Kansans at institutions of higher education and has initiated helping with the hunger issue.
Above all else, the School of Leadership Studies is taking steps to help maintain and sustain the hunger movement through providing various opportunities for students to serve locally as well as internationally. Educating, equipping and empowering students and community members to join in on the effort to end hunger has been key.
“We just need to keep the conversation going,” Bachelor said. “Hunger is not going to go away soon, so we need to talk about it and work together to see what we can do right here and right now.”
What can YOU do TODAY to help the fight to end world hunger?
- Spread awareness of hunger as a global issue by sharing this story on Facebook or have a conversation with friends and family about what hunger looks like
- Volunteer or start your own food packaging event. Find out how: http://numanainc.com/
- Volunteer or donate to your local soup kitchen
- Join the fight against hunger in America: http://feedingamerica.org/