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Oxford students begin year with service

More than 100 Oxford College freshman recently helped package meals for the volunteer organization Stop Hunger Now. Pictured, from left, are Crystal Hsu, David Daniels, Rachael Storms and Jocelyn Vuong. Students packaged 20,000 meals.

More than 100 Oxford College freshman recently helped package meals for the volunteer organization Stop Hunger Now. Pictured, from left, are Crystal Hsu, David Daniels, Rachael Storms and Jocelyn Vuong. Students packaged 20,000 meals.

OXFORD -- Students at Oxford College helped kick off the new school year with a service project.

Each year as part of a tradition, the college helps place emphasis on student servant leadership by allowing incoming students to participate in volunteer activities.

This year, students had the opportunity to volunteer with Stop Hunger Now. Based in Raleigh, N.C., it is an international hunger relief organization that coordinates the distribution of food and other life-saving aid around the world.

The organization's meal packaging program provides volunteers the opportunity to package dehydrated, high protein and nutritious meals that are used in crisis situations and in feeding programs for schools and orphanages in developing countries around the world.

"Their vision is a world without hunger, and they live that out through their mission, which is to end hunger in our lifetime by providing food and life-saving aid to the world's most vulnerable and by creating a global commitment to mobilize the necessary resources," said Lyn Pace, Oxford College chaplain.

Oxford students participated in a three-hour meal-packaging project, held in the Oxford student center. It was coordinated by Volunteer Oxford, a student-led community service organization and supported by the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life and the Office of Student Development.

Some $5,000 was raised to make the project possible, with funds coming from the college and two local churches, Allen Memorial United Methodist Church in Oxford and First United Methodist Church of Covington.

"We had more than 100 students participate, about 20 percent of the entering class, and we packaged 20,000 meals," Pace said. "We hope to make this an annual event."

Pace said the college's goal was 10,000 meals.

He said the college along with other United Methodist schools in North Georgia that also participated in the service project hope to package around 150,000 meals for the organization.

Oxford Dining provider Sodexo provided snacks for the Oxford student volunteers.

Returning Oxford sophomores who serve as resident assistants also requested to do a service project this year.

Led by Kim David, assistant director of student development, the RA's recently worked on four service projects around the Covington community.

These included shelving books for the Newton County Public Library, handling yard clean-up for the home of two elderly war veterans, helping the agency Prevent Child Abuse Newton move furniture to a new office location and working on infrastructure at a community garden.