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Meal Exchange launches Skip a Meal program this week

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

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  • Brittany Skelton and Mackenzie Brown are enthusiastic about this week’s Skip a Meal campaign

    Brittany Skelton and Mackenzie Brown are enthusiastic about this week’s Skip a Meal campaign

Written by Stephanie Rennie

Although this year has been especially difficult for many people dependant on food bank services, a group of vivacious students at the University of Guelph are working hard to relieve pressure from food banks in the area. Promotions & Education Coordinator Mackenzie Brown describes Meal Exchange as “a non profit volunteer charity agents that runs events to fight local hunger.” Brown expressed that the University of Guelph chapter is unique as it focuses on local matters, while a lot of other organizations have centered on national and international levels.

Meal Exchange is responsible for numerous events throughout the year, one of the largest being Trick or Eat. This campaign is held every Halloween, giving students a chance to dress up in unique costumes and trick-or-treat for food donations instead of teeth rotting candy.

This week, Meal Exchange is encouraging students to support Skip a Meal from Monday January 23rd until Friday January 27th throughout campus. Students are asked to donate from their meal cards or pocket to provide support for those in need. When asked how students can get involved, Mackenzie Brown stated that “the easiest way is to just donate. There will be donation booths set up in the UC, Creelman and Mountain Hall and people will be coming to class rooms.” Meal Exchange is also seeking volunteers for this project to make class room speeches.

But this campaign doesn’t end on Friday when the donations are tallied.  The Guelph chapter of Meal Exchange has taken this campaign to another level and is now being recognized for such efforts at the national level. In the month following Skip a Meal, dedicated volunteers participate in Delivery Day. This campaign allows volunteers to assist with the organization and delivery of the food. Brown states that this “event is unique to our chapter and is being recognized in the Meal Exchange newsletter.” One first year volunteer claimed Delivery Day to be her favourite aspect of volunteering with Meal Exchange.

The goal of this year’s campaign is to reach $15 000 to surpass last year’s successful total of $14 820. Central Coordinator Brittany Skelton stressed the importance of this event as the Guelph CSA Food bank “faces the largest funding crisis they have ever experienced… [and] a lot of places in the community are [also] facing funding problems.” The generous donations will be felt as close as the food bank on campus and as far as an hour away. Student support will directly aid the Guelph CSA Food bank and the Guelph Food bank, as well as fifteen other food banks and centres in the area.

But the generosity and fun doesn’t stop there. The enthusiastic coordinators of Meal Exchange are busy planning events for the rest of the semester. Among some of the events, Brown and Skelton are planning to participate in Hunger Awareness Week from March 5th – 10th, to organize a networking dinner on hunger issues in collaboration with Guelph’s Universities Fighting World Hunger and many other initiatives that you won’t want to miss.

Mackenzie Brown wanted to “thank everyone for their support so far” on behalf of Meal Exchange. “Students are our power,” Brown stated.

If you are interested in getting involved with Meal Exchange this year, come out to weekly meetings every Tuesday in the CSA Boardroom at 5:30pm. You can also get more information by visiting Meal Exchange – Team Guelph on Facebook at  http://www.facebook.com/groups/146109235455571/.

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