By Carly Taylor
For The Diamondback
As Justin Bieber songs blared in the background, volunteers scooped rice to the beat at the Memorial Chapel on Tuesday.
For the second consecutive year, Terps Against Hunger teamed up with the chapel for the Feed the Families Multifaith Service Project to provide meals to food insecure families in the Washington area.
“We share that traditions move us to care for the world and for those around us,” said the Rev. Brett Pinder, chaplain for this university’s United Methodist ministry on the campus.
The two organizations came together last year after chaplains at the chapel decided to create a service project in which people of different faiths had the opportunity to participate. The first event aimed to pack 10,000 meals for children in Baltimore — a target that was doubled this year.
About 100 volunteers gathered at the chapel with the goal of packing 20,000 meals for families in the Washington Metro area, where more than 2.1 million people are food insecure, said Terps Against Hunger President Josh Turskey. The final tally was 17,496 meals, he said.
“Any families in need can get these meals,” Turskey said. “No questions asked.”
Roy Thomason, assistant director of the South Campus Dining Hall, said he is passionate about the opportunity to serve others in an interfaith environment.
“Service is about love and helping others,” Thomason said. “It is God’s intention for us to work together.”
The event kicked off at 4 p.m. in the Garden Chapel where students of various faiths spoke with volunteers about their personal experiences with service and religion.
Senior Samad Husain shared stories about drawing inspiration from Muhammad.
“Islam and service are one in the same, you can’t really separate the two,” the economics major said.
Turskey, a junior architecture major, also spoke at the program. He told the story of a family left unemployed and homeless after the husband, an army veteran, was medically discharged.
“These are the families that we are serving, they didn’t really know where their next meal would come from,” he said. “If we’re looking for a place to serve, we don’t have to look far. We can look right down Route 1 and that’s where people are.”
Turskey gave a brief orientation, showing the volunteers how to pack each bag and challenging groups to create as many soy, vitamin, rice and dried vegetable-filled packets as possible during their hour-long shifts.
“It’s all about bringing groups together,” he said, “and packing for one common cause.”