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Otterbein leads hunger relief effort in Franklin County in honor of Dr. King

Otterbein leads hunger relief effort in Franklin County in honor of Dr. King

Otterbein University students will embrace Martin Luther King Jr.’s spirit of service this month, as they participate in a day of service and a public convocation.

Otterbein University will host its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation, featuring student reflections on the topic of Social Justice and Activism at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 18, in the Fritsche Theatre at Cowan Hall, 30 S. Grove St.  The winners of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Peace and Justice Awards will also be announced at the convocation.

After the convocation, students will participate in the Pack the Mac service project from 5:30-8:30 p.m. in the Campus Center, 100 W. Home St. Members of the Otterbein community and the general public are invited to lend a hand.  The second year for this event will have volunteers packaging macaroni “soup-in-a-jar” for local area organizations.

Hunger is a serious problem for some families in Franklin County, Ohio. Many school-age and college students also struggle with hunger. The Center for Community Engagement (CCE) at Otterbein University is stepping up to make a difference for food-insecure youth and families in Franklin County.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 18.1% of people in Franklin County live below the poverty level. Poverty often leads to food insecurity for area residents.

“Our food packaging efforts will be part of a national effort to honor Dr. King’s legacy of service,” said Dr. Melissa Gilbert, director of the CCE and associate dean for experiential learning. “This is a unique assembly line process, and anyone can join our food packaging efforts.  It is a unique opportunity for students and local volunteers to work together to make a positive impact on our community.”

All of the meals will stay in our community and be distributed by Westerville Area Resource Ministry (WARM), Gladden Community House and the new Otterbein campus resource center and food pantry, The Promise House, which will help to ease the food insecurity of Otterbein students.

Otterbein University will package the meals with financial assistance from a grant from Iowa Campus Compact and the Corporation for National and Community Service. The $2,000 grant will provide 700 pounds of food.

The CCE, an office within Student Affairs, brings together students, faculty, and staff to address five key areas through service-learning, volunteerism, and community-based action research. The center oversees 12 different student-led organizations that work with urban youth, elders, and animals and non-profit agencies and local schools.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that helps more than five million Americans improve the lives of their fellow citizens through service. With help from local partners, the Corporation works hard to tap the ingenuity and can-do spirit of the American people to tackle some of the most pressing challenges faced by the United States.


Learn more about service work at Otterbein on the Center for Community Engagement’s website.