Thousands of volunteers, including Razorback student athletes, are participating in what is described as Numana, Inc.’s biggest packaging event
Among those in attendance late Friday evening were Razorback football players Jake Bequette
, defensive end and SEC All-Freshman, and corner Seth Armbrust
who visited with an event organizer, Jimmy Dykes. Dykes
is an ESPN sportscaster, former University of Arkansas assistant coach, and U of A graduate.
. is a nonprofit hunger relief organization with the mission to empower people to save the starving. Through meal packaging events, Numana sends food to countries where intense insecurity exists.
Numana, Inc.’s founder and CEO, Rick McNary, was at the event held at the University of Arkansas’ Randal Tyson Track Center
McNary told DigitalJournal.com that, while Numana is an international hunger relief organization, the current focus of the organization’s efforts are directed at relieving hunger in Haiti. McNary said:
Numana was founded three years ago, but we didn't have our first packaging event until Dec. 29 of '09. Our first target for our meals was Haiti because of the overwhelming need before the earthquake. So we had a container of food (285,120) meals packaged before the earthquake. Our focus right now is on Haiti, but our long term plans are to be all over the world. Our intent in Haiti initially was to feed school kids because that's the best way to really help fight global hunger- educate children. The Salvation Army has been in Haiti over 60 years and have 49 schools and 10,000 school kids. We will resume that focus once the crisis is over.
Since January 2010, 100,000 volunteers have joined Numana to package over 18 million meals for relief efforts in Haiti. And, by 3:00 a.m. Saturday morning, 427,000 additional packaged meals had been prepared in Fayetteville by hundreds of volunteers.
When asked why he founded Numana and what is the organization's greatest success to date, McNary replied:
I met my first starving girl in Nicaragua 8 years ago. A little five year old girl asked me to feed her and from that moment on I have dedicated my life to doing what I can to get as many people to help me feed the hungry as I can. Our greatest success is that right now over 110,000 people from our events in San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago, Seattle, L.A., and now Fayetteville have helped us package over 19,000,000 meals!
For the Razorback Nation, as fans of the University of Arkansas and its sports programs are called, success will be two million packaged meals by 7:00 p.m. on June 26. Yet, even if that number is not achieved, organizers and volunteers are pleased with the effort, the event, and the fulfillment felt by the act of helping others in need.