SMHS and Kids Against Hunger Prepare 60,000 Meals for Famine-Stricken Families
WASHINGTON (Sept. 9, 2011)— Today, more than 500 first- and second-year medical and health science students, faculty, and staff from The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) scooped, measured, and bagged meals made of rice, dehydrated vegetables, soybeans, and 21 vitamins and minerals. In partnership with the DC Chapter of Kids Against Hunger, they assembled enough small bags of food to provide 60,000 meals for hungry Somali children who are suffering in refugee camps in Kenya. A portion of the meals will also go to a local soup kitchen for the poor in Washington.
More than 30,000 Somali children under the age of five have perished in the last two months as a result of famine and civil strife. With the tenth anniversary of Sept. 11 approaching, the GW medical and health sciences students wanted to bring a global focus to its annual Commitment to the Community day. They chose to address one of the world’s most basic needs — adequate and quality nutrition for children in war-torn Somalia and those who need access to food in the nation’s capital.
“We are grateful to have the opportunity to help feed families affected by the famine in the horn of Africa countries, as well as those who need healthy food here in our own neighborhood,” said Jeffrey S. Akman, M.D. ’81, interim vice provost for Health Affairs and dean of the SMHS. “And we are especially proud to work on this project with the DC chapter of Kids Against Hunger. Through this event we have provided 60,000 meals to starving children, and the experience will make our students better and even more compassionate doctors and health practitioners in the future,” he said.
Partnering with the GW medical and health sciences students was a great way to combine our efforts to send nutritious meals to famine-stricken families in the Horn of Africa with the strong commitment to community service that exists at SMHS,” said Dr. Lakhmir Chawla, co-founder of the DC chapter of Kids Against Hunger and associate professor of Medicine at SMHS. “There is a tremendous need for humanitarian assistance for the Horn of Africa, and we believe that the GW medical students can play a vital role through their volunteer efforts today.”
Funding for these meals was provided by the White Coat Initiative, an SMHS alumni-supported fund that provides first-year medical students with their white coats at the start of each school year.
The food mixture that was packaged today was developed by scientists at General Mills, Cargill, and Pillsbury food companies especially to feed starving kids under the age of five. Each bag contains six meals. Kids Against Hunger has distributed this food mixture to local food shelves, disaster areas, and more than 40 developing countries.
About Kids Against Hunger:
Kids Against Hunger’s mission is to significantly reduce the number of hungry children in the United States and to feed starving children throughout the world. Our approach to achieving the eradication of world hunger is the packaging of a highly nutritious, vitamin-fortified rice-soy casserole by volunteers and the distribution of those meals to starving children and their families worldwide.
The Kids Against Hunger’s International Headquarters office is located in New Hope, Minn., a suburb of Minneapolis. In 2010, volunteers at more than 80 Kids Against Hunger locations packaged over 40 million vitamin-fortified rice-soy casserole meals for children and their families around the world and around the corner.