FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU men’s soccer, men’s basketball, women’s tennis and softball teams as well as members of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (Eagles Council) participated in a meal packing event to help the nation of Haiti on Friday, Oct. 8 and Saturday, Oct. 9.
“Service work is a valuable opportunity for our student athletes to be Ambassador’s in the community,” said head women’s tennis coach Jennifer Gabou. “By getting involved and showing that we really care through our actions, not only are we furthering the student-athlete experience, but they are making memories that will last them a lifetime.”
The teams combined with other university groups and members of the community to pack more than 100,000 meals for the nation still trying to recover from the devastating earthquake last year. Volunteers worked in two-hour shifts, doing everything from making labels and assembling boxes; spooning ingredients, filling, weighing and sealing bags; and loading the filled boxes onto pallets for ground transportation.
The meals are called MannaPack-Rice. They consist of rice, dehydrated vegetables and chicken flavored vitamins, can be cooked with boiling water, and cost only 19 cents to produce.
“Our afternoon was both a fun team-building activity and an opportunity to donate our time and talents to a worthwhile cause,” said softball senior Catherine McDaniel (Melbourne, Fla./Eau Gallie HS/Florida Tech). “It is always shocking to hear about and see all of the people that are suffering around the world. To know that we could play a part in helping a small amount is heartwarming and a great learning experience. I know we were all able to take away a feeling of pride in giving back to our community.”
The State University System of Florida offered its resources to join America’s comprehensive efforts to help the people of Haiti. In support of these efforts, Florida Gulf Coast University has formed a committee of staff and students to coordinate and centralize what is already being done and organize in other ways and areas to show support.
FGCU worked with the group Feed My Starving Children, a non-profit organization founded in 1987. Feed My Starving Children distributes the packed meals through missionaries and global nonprofits across the world. The organization provides a team-building environment where people of all ages can come together for a common cause: packing nutritious, life-saving meals for starving children.