By Brianna Gleghorn
A group of Youngstown State University students, with the help of a local health official, raised $6,074 for the nonprofit Feed My Starving Children.
At 24 cents per meal the funds raised could feed over 25,000 children one meal or 68 children for a year.
Dr. Christian Yeasted, a family medicine physician for Mercy Health St. Elizabeth Hospital, reached out to YSU to form the committee and found many students wanted to get involved.
According to Yeasted, after $27,000 is raised, the organization will send a truck of goods for the community to come together and package the meals.
“It’s a really big event,” he said. “People compete with each other to see which team can package more and start talking to each other back and forth and this is a lot of good fun.”
Yeasted said he first heard about Feed My Starving Children while completing his residency training in Chicago.
When he moved to Youngstown, Yeasted wanted to bring the program to the area and encourage others to participate.
A Halloween 5K Fun Run on Oct. 19 was held at YSU to benefit the organization and was sponsored by Pressed Coffee Bar and Eatery and the American Medical Student Association, where a great number of members volunteered.
“They stuck through it for a long time, many months of planning to make that 5K,” he said. “They’re extremely influential in acting like a lightning rod for people to come to YSU and become aware of certain world problems like starving children or even more local problems.”
The Minnesota-based organization started when businessman Richard Proudfit went to Honduras to feed starving children only to learn malnourished children need specifically formulated meals to thrive.
After working with scientists in the United States, Proudfit returned to Honduras and was able to develop a nutritious and effective formula to better help starving children.
“They have a huge presence out there in the Midwest,” Yeasted said. “I started and it’s just blossomed all over the country, but there are some places that it has not come yet.”
Christopher Economus, senior biology pre-med major and president of YSU’s American Medical Student Association, said he heard about the committee and wanted his association to be involved.
“It is just so good … providing meals to children who don’t have access to those meals,” he said.
According to Economus, the committee was composed of YSU students, along with Yeasted, who worked to gain sponsors, recruit volunteers and obtain approval from the university.
Economus said the message of Feed My Starving Children is powerful.
Brandon Shiflet, freshman biochemistry major and member of the American Medical Student Association, said he was involved in community service events before coming to YSU and wanted to continue that into college.
“Prior to coming into college, I planned maybe 10 community service events,” Shiflet said. “So, I was ready for whatever was going to come at me.”
Shiflet said he heard about the committee planning the 5K in an American Medical Student Association meeting and was eager to get involved.
“I know it’s not just important to get good grades, but it’s also important to become a well-rounded individual,” he said. “I was just seeking opportunities to get involved in the community.”
In Shiflet’s opinion, this fundraiser was a way to make a difference in the community and bring awareness of issues not just in the area, but the world.
“We’re probably the closest group of people that can make a difference in regards to children because we’re getting [a] college education,” he said. “We’re using what power we have as college students and experiences that we have to draw attention to those important issues.”
If you are interested in getting involved with the Feed My Starving Children committee, contact Yeasted at [email protected].