Thinking Globally, Acting Locally: VCU International Community Volunteers in Henrico County
RICHMOND, Va. (Feb. 18, 2013)—Thirty-four members of Virginia Commonwealth University's international community participated in the food packaging event hosted by international relief organization "Stop Hunger Now" last month at the First Presbyterian Church in Richmond. The group joined with nearly 600 citizens of Henrico County to prepare 142,000 meals that will be distributed to schools and orphanages throughout Haiti.
This is the second year that the VCU Global Education Office has arranged for members VCU's international community to participate in this event. Khaled AbouZeid, a post-doctoral researcher in the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences Department of Chemistry has participated both years. "I know this work makes a difference," he said. "I love participating in this event because it gives me a chance to practice my humanity and to help."
A native of Cairo, Egypt, AbouZeid believes that volunteering in the local community is an essential part of encouraging understanding among cultures. "This kind of activity melts all cultures together. It dissolves the boundaries and removes differences. When we share a common goal, it teaches people how to cooperate and work together to make our society better and stronger."
Mike Nelson, Stop Hunger Now Richmond office program manager has seen an increase in the role that students play in the success of this program. "The coming generation is becoming increasingly active in doing things that make a difference" he said. "They want to be part of something that has an impact on the world and programs like this give them an opportunity to get involved."
"I've worked with some international students who come from countries that receive the meals we package," he continued. "They're able to see the first hand impact of their work."
Stop Hunger Now will host another food packaging event at Virginia Commonwealth University on March 24th. Their goal is to package 40,000 kits. For more information, visit www.stophungernow.org or call 804.381.6503
Read one student's reflection »