BUIES CREEK - Shelley Hobbs has seen firsthand what an arena full of future freshmen preparing packaged meals can do for hungry families half a world away.
That’s why Hobbs was front and center and leading the way Friday during the “service project” portion of Campbell University’s first of two summer orientations for freshmen and transfer students. More than 1,600 students and their families were in Buies Creek for the two-day orientation, designed to introduce them to life at Campbell University and make the transition into college life a little easier.
A recent tradition of the orientation is the service project, and this year the students were given the task of packing 25,000 meals to be delivered to families in the African country of Ethiopia. Hobbs, a Campbell graduate and now the University’s Private School and Christian Markets counselor, helped deliver food and minister to poor families in the region back in March, and Friday, she and Chris Leader of Ignite Outreach presented a film of their experience to the orientation crowd before their work began.
The story shared of a malnourished father who declined his meal so his family could eat more left some in tears.
photos by Billy Liggett
“It’s just incredible to me how one hour of service can impact the lives of thousands,” said Hobbs, who described her trip in March as both humbling and inspirational. “There wasn’t anything that could have prepared me for the poverty I saw there … yet, it was humbling to see the joy and the zest for life these families had despite everything else. They are truly grateful for these meals.”
Donning hair nets and comfortable shoes, hundreds of future Campbell students manned a few dozen meal-preparation tables and worked in shifts for the hour-plus. Students on one end filled bags with rice, soy, dried vegetables and vitamins; those bags were passed down to students who sealed them and stacked them. Finally, students at the end of the table boxed the meals and loaded them to be carried off.
It’s by no means back-breaking labor, but it’s also not what you’d think a university would ask of the students who just signed on for at least four years. But according to Campus Minister Faithe Beam, the opportunity to serve is just one of the reasons many students choose Campbell University.
“This is a generation that wants to change the world. They want to make a difference and serve,” Beam said. “That culture of service begins now.”
Incoming freshman Allison Anderson of Olivia said she liked the experience as she boxed dozens of meals Friday.
“It makes you realize just how lucky you are,” she said.
Kevin Ha of Fayetteville said the service project made him feel good inside.
“The video really motivated me, too,” he said. “It makes you want to make a difference.”
Hobbs said the response from students about the service project has echoed Anderson and Ha … overwhelmingly positive.
“Service is sold here at Campbell … they know what to expect when they sign on,” she said. “These students know they’re impacting the world. I think they’re excited to be a part of this.”
The University’s second summer orientation is scheduled for July 6-7. For more information, visit http://www.campbell.edu/admissions/accepted-students/orientation/.
The fall semester begins Aug. 21.