Written by Sean Kessell
Freshman, Mechanical Engineering
Albert Dorman Honors College
Hershey kisses were lying on each table as each of us were given three strips of blank paper and markers. Looking at these, I was clueless as to what this could be for. I cam here thinking we would be making food, not this. This is what I thought until it became clear: the papers were to be attached to the kisses with a meaningful message. Each meal needed a meaningful message that is representative of what NJIT Against Hunger is all about. With that, my peers and I went to it, writing message after message until all 400 were completed. We had to show the community that NJIT truly cares.
Making 400 meals in one day is no easy task, but for over 100 volunteers, anything is possible. I, along with numerous other Honors students, went to the Campus Center Ballroom on November 21 to help with the program NJIT Against Hunger, a student-run event where hundreds of meals are made for the hungry and homeless at Newark Penn Station. This was the second time I participated in this event, so I knew the kind of teamwork and determination it would take to make all of the meals within a little over three hours.
The students were put into groups based on their first names. The groups ranged from making salad, making sandwiches, and even the simple task of placing a fork and knife in each individual bag. The first time I did NJIT Against Hunger, I was assigned to the salad team. We had to cut carrots and lettuce while combining it all into one giant bowl. After that, peas, corn, tomatoes, and dressing were added to finish the nutritious salad. At the second event, I was a part of the bag team. We had to separate all 400 bags and place a napkin, fork, and knife in each one. While this doesn’t sound very difficult, it sure did take plenty of time to complete. Once we finished that, we helped clean up the mess that is bound to happen when 400 meals are assembled.
Though we spent over three hours making that food, it didn’t feel that long at all. Not only was the event for a great cause, but it was a ton of fun at the same time. Doing something good for the community while being surrounded by your closest friends is a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Laughs were shared and memories were made. While I wanted to accompany the group and go to Penn Station to distribute the meals, I unfortunately was not selected as they randomly selected 30 people from the 100 in attendance. Even though I could not do this, I still can appreciate what I did and the numerous people that I and everyone with me had impacted that day. All I could think of was the smile on someone’s face as they read the message I put in the bag containing their meal. The thought of that smile is enough to make anyone continue doing this work.