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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

“Cross-country, track and field runners aim to help end world hunger”

Sam Shumaker / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Physical education senior Brian MacArthur, left, and undeclared freshman Jen Bergman, both UA cross country runners in the Feel Good Club, cook up grilled cheese sandwiches on the mall yesterday afternoon for money donations. For every dollar donated, a $1.20 goes to the Hunger Project, an organization that feeds starving communities across the world.
Sam Shumaker
Sam Shumaker / Arizona Daily Wildcat Physical education senior Brian MacArthur, left, and undeclared freshman Jen Bergman, both UA cross country runners in the Feel Good Club, cook up grilled cheese sandwiches on the mall yesterday afternoon for money donations. For every dollar donated, a $1.20 goes to the Hunger Project, an organization that feeds starving communities across the world.

With a goal of “”ending world hunger, one grilled cheese at a time,”” the Arizona track and field and cross-country runners have partnered with The Hunger Project to start a FeelGood World chapter for the UA.

Recently, the group has been living up to FeelGood World’s slogan by passing out free grilled cheese sandwich to help raise awareness for global hunger.

The group made free grilled cheese sandwiches on the UA Mall Monday for any interested passersby and donations of any amount were accepted. For every dollar donated, The Hunger Project matches 20 cents toward helping third world countries in Africa, South Asia and Latin America end hunger in a sustainable manner.

“”It’s a fun way to get involved and an easy way to help out,”” said chemical engineering sophomore and club member Emily Rodela. “”But at the same time, the bigger picture is larger than just being an easy way to help out, so that’s cool too.””

In six years, 21 college chapters, including the UA’s, have sprung up in the United States and awareness is continuing to rise. Some universities even have incorporated entire restaurants to the cause.

That is something that sophomore founder and Arizona cross-country runner Hanna Henson wants to work toward. Since the clubs’ inaugural semester last spring, the chapter has held six fundraisers on the Mall.

Henson hopes to begin having the fundraisers on the Mall every week.

“”I honestly didn’t know what I was getting myself into,”” Henson said. “”I didn’t realize all the hoops you have to jump through. The grilled cheese is easy. It’s trying to get the Mall reserved and getting the club approved and all that that’s difficult.””

One of the motivations she had to form the chapter was actually current UA cross-country assistant coach Erin Rodrigs, who was a member of the first chapter at the University of Texas when it was established in 2003.

“”The hardest challenge is just getting people aware,”” Rodela said. “”When we advertise out on the Mall, a lot of people just shrug it off and walk by without a second thought. But the majority of people who stop make donations, so that’s good.””

Through the past year, the group has continued to have growing success.

Currently, the UA chapter has about 50 members, the majority of them being runners from either cross-country or track and field. There are about eight members not on either team.

Initially, there were only members from the two teams though, and one of the group’s goals continues to be increasing awareness for the general student body.

“”This year … we’re growing as a chapter and a lot more than just the team is involved which is good for awareness. We’ve definitely come a long way,”” Henson said.

“”I can’t tell you the amount of interesting people I’ve met,”” she added. “”There are a lot of freshmen who come in here looking to make a difference, and I think this chapter gives them an outlet.””

Currently, Henson estimates the club makes about $150 in donations per Mall outing. However, some of that is used to pay for produce and other materials to make the sandwiches. While Sunflower Market has donated bread for the club, Henson is still looking for donations for the other parts of the fundraising.

“”What’s interesting about the bread is it’s all near the end of its shelf life,”” Rodela said. “”It’s still good, but it just shows how much excess food we have here when some people don’t have anything. Sunflower Market can donate almost 30 loaves every time and that just puts it in perspective for us.””

And the overall perspective always humbles the club’s members.

“”I’ve realized I just have so much to be thankful for,”” Henson said. “”People in third world countries don’t have clean water; something most don’t even think to thank God for.””

While the FeelGood World chapter will not be out on the Mall this upcoming week due to the cross-country national meet, they hope to make two more appearances by the end of the semester.

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