North Central partnered with Venture to host the fourth Hope for Dinner week-long event in November 2017. Photo by Josiah Mayo.
The gospel in action at North Central
Since 2014 North Central has participated in Hope for Dinner, an outlet of the non-profit organization Venture, to help provide food and medical supplies for people in need around the world. This year the money raised will give food and medical supplies to the people of Somalia.
The African nation of Somalia is no stranger to large-scale food shortages and is currently going through one of the largest and longest famines it has faced in years. Lack of food and clean water has also resulted in widespread disease and the need for medical attention. There are currently over six million people starving and in need of medical help in the country.
“Caring for the poor and oppressed is not just philanthropy, it’s the gospel,” Paul Hurkman, executive director of Venture, said. “Hope for Dinner is a response to the gospel. I’m past feeling bad for people. The feeling bad can’t keep up with [the needs of] people.”
For one week each year, the students and faculty of North Central are encouraged to trade their lunch in the cafeteria for a plate of rice and beans, donating the monetary difference to help feed people in need around the world. By trading a single meal for a plate of rice and beans, Pioneer Foods donates the proceeds to Venture who can turn each donated meal into 10 meals plus medical supplies for people in need.
This year the event ran from Monday, Nov. 13 to Friday Nov. 17. Although the event has finished at North Central for this year, Venture is still accepting donations from people that feel compelled to help.
In the past three years, North Central, in addition to Cedar Valley Church and Venture, has provided over 60 thousand meals for people in Myanmar and Thailand. This year they set a collective goal of one hundred thousand meals. This year’s meals will be going to help the people of Galkeyo, Somalia who were impacted by the famine.
Enactus, the student-led business and entrepreneurial group on campus, stepped up this year and took many of the responsibilities of Hope for Dinner on themselves.
“The whole event has been inverted this year in comparison to how it’s been [run] in years past,” Lizzie Schaut, Enactus team member, said. “In the past Venture came and did most of the work with only a few student ambassadors.”
With the Enactus team’s help, they partnered with Chipotle and set up another rice and beans area in Clay Commons where North Central apartment residents, commuters and faculty were also encouraged to participate in the event. Chipotle provided all the rice and beans free of charge and participants were encouraged to donate any monetary amount they could when receiving the food.
This year, Hope for Dinner saw the most student and faculty participation they have had since the initiative began, largely due to the additional donating in Clay Commons. While the goal of reaching one hundred thousand meals has not yet been met, this year’s donations from North Central exceeded all of the school’s previous years’ amounts. From North Central’s participation alone, 10,015 meals and $701.50 in medical supplies was. Enactus and Venture both consider this year’s Hope for Dinner event to be a success.
Since 2002, Venture has strived to help people around the globe with food aid, education and helping to create new disciples of Christ. Hope for Dinner is an integral piece of their mission and has impacted tens of thousands of people since 2014. Both Venture and Enactus urge students to pray for this ministry and the thousands of people it will impact. For more information about Venture and their mission, go to https://venture.org.