Nearly 120 University of Nebraska–Lincoln volunteers packed 2,128 rice and bean meals this week as part of a service project honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The service project was offered Jan. 18-21 as part of the university’s MLK Week observance. The volunteers registered to work shifts of 30 and 60 minutes, packing the rice and bean meals and helping to sort food donations. The project goal was to pack 2,000 meals.
The meals will be distributed through the Food Bank of Lincoln’s partner agencies, which assist people in Lincoln and across southeastern Nebraska. The food bank includes 50 agencies that distribute food to more than 80 locations, including Matt Talbot Kitchen and Outreach, People’s City Mission, Center for People in Need and the university’s Husker Pantry.
Lauren Ritta, the volunteer coordinator with the Food Bank of Lincoln, said that need for the meals is great across the community as one in eight adults and one in six children locally experience food insecurity.
“In December 1964 (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) spoke to Lincoln students, mentioning how much we spend to keep food out of the hands of people who can’t pay, and how little it would cost to fill the ‘withered stomachs of God’s children in Asian and African and in our own country,’ Ritta said. “It’s so meaningful years later to partner with the university to feed our neighbors. It’s so in line with MLK’s legacy.”