Feed the Need: Another Round

By: Kyle Exline, Head Men’s and Women’s Volleyball Coach + The Office of Ministry & Service

Friends! Our 3rd year of hosting Feed the Need–a partnership of Feed My Starving Children, the Feed the Need coalition, and the Office of Ministry and Servicehas passed and another round is coming in 2018! Before diving into what’s ahead we wanted to take a look back and celebrate together.

To highlight, over 5,000 volunteers packed 1,003,084 meals feeding 2,748 children for an entire year on February 18th and 19th, 2017 in the Res/Rec Center on the campus of North Central College. 32519068664_a744deb92e_o

The meals packed at the 2017 MobilePack were distributed as follows:

  • Nicaragua
    • 816,480 meals went to Nicaragua through Food for the Poor. In Nicaragua specifically, Food for the Poor provides medical care through several clinics, they sponsor 22 orphanages and they also build housing units. Find out more information at: foodforthepoor.org
  • Haiti
    • 186,624 meals went to Haiti through Love A Child. Find out more information at: loveachild.com

33234447751_cf7ba396ce_kOn a personal level, in 2016 our women’s volleyball team helped out at Feed the Need and they were the ones that suggested this again to the coaching staff! We included our men’s players and we were looking at this in two ways: A) we can give back to kids in need and B) we can bond together as a volleyball family! Our day started off with a team meeting before we entered the doors! We had 14 returners and 42 first time Feed the Need volunteers (including coaches). As we were dispersed to our work stations, the men’s and women’s players split up in packs and they were able to cover seven stations. The student athletes were working together, laughing, smiling, grinding, and celebrating every box they created!33206800382_c78de373db_k
They all took this as an opportunity to spend time together and work towards a common goal off of the court. Once the bell rang, we cleaned up our stations and headed back to our chairs. They shared joy and excitement once they were completed. Once the final numbers came into circulation, they were astonished that their work was able to provide 700+ children with meals for a year in one single, hour and a half shift! They all left feeling gratified but not satisfied because they are all eager to help in 2018. We hope you can, too!

So on that note, we are excited to announce next’s year’s mobile pack dates!!!!!!

Drum roll….




Fall Focus Retreat Video Highlights.

By: The Office of Ministry & Service

Community comes in many forms. We’d like to think community is at its best when in communion with one another—breaking bread together around a table, worshiping acoustically in a cozy living room, laughing at our inability to catch a football, meditating on Scripture in the wilderness, telling stories around the campfire, playing games that force us to make silly faces and more. In the end, we create memories. We become witnesses, together, to the beauty of retreating to a quiet place with a group of strangers and leaving as one, a community.

Student, Katie Kortkamp, put together a video that highlights our recent fall Focus retreat October 14th and 15th in Dixon, IL. Check it out!


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Service Touches My Heart: A Reflection on Intersection 2016

Wes Ellis, Senior and Vice President of Cardinals in Action

The music is booming, and my new friends and I are pulling out ALL of the stops on the dance floor.  The sprinkler.  The cabbage patch.  The funky chicken.  The running man.  Even the Whip/Nae Nae!  I’m a big boy, so after approximately 2 minutes of continuous dancing, I need to take a seat and catch my breath.  While catching my breath, I survey my surroundings.  The atmosphere is electric, and the room is filled with nothing but smiles and laughter.


Last Saturday, I—along with many volunteers from Intersection (North Central’s Day of Service)—helped to set-up and facilitate a big carnival for the special needs community to enjoy through an organization called Touch my HeartThe carnival featured many games and activities: basketball, beanbags, dancing, hockey, face painting, dancing, coloring books, a bounce house, balloon animals, and dancing to name just a few!  (The dancing was a real hit for me if you’ve yet to figure that out.)

All joking aside, the dance floor was truly where some of the most special momentsoccurred during this event.  Here, volunteers and carnival attendees came together to have a great time.  I met a friend who loved to high-five to the beat of the music.  Another friend was a master at lip-syncing all of the Michael Jackson classics.


I couldn’t help but feel that the dance floor helped to create an immediate sense of community amongst people who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to interact otherwise.  Isn’t that awesome?  Plus, I racked up over 20,000 steps on my Fit Bit that day.  Boom.

Volunteering with Touch my Heart, simply put, touched my heart!  We were able to give people with special needs a fun, safe environment in which they could enjoy themselves.  Just through giving a few hours of our time at Intersection, we were able to make a big impact.


I desperately want my family, friends, and peers to realize that service is not an entirely selfless activity.  In fact, it can be selfish.  That may sound radical, but through my experiences in volunteering, I know this to be true.  Do you notice how I’ve written a lot about myself and how volunteering made me feel rather than focusing on others?  That’s because it made me feel…a lot!  Good feels.

I was able to take away something from Intersection, just as I am able to take away something from every service experience.  I fervently believe that service is just as enriching for the volunteer as it is for the person in need.  My experience at Intersection just furthered that belief.

My only regret?  I didn’t play in the bounce house.  What was I thinking?!


Photo rights: Touch My Heart

From the Suburbs to the City: My Chicago Term Experience Thus Far

By: Kaylee Lessen, Sophomore

Chicago, by far, is the greatest city in the world! Am I biased? Maybe a little bit. But that’s only because I get to LIVE here!

Why do I get to live here? Because North Central College is incredible and has opportunities where I, as a sophomore, get to live downtown Chicago in an urban apartment overlooking Lake Michigan. I know it seems as though I’m bragging and who am I kidding, I totally am, but it’s such a neat thing I want to share it with everybody.fullsizerender-1

After my first full day in the city, I woke up feeling like I was in a dream. I sat up in bed and looked out my window at the brand new Ferris wheel at Navy Pier, and a little to the right I’m watching Buckingham Fountain magnificently erupt before my eyes. Boats are lined up in the harbor and a gentle, morning haze is settled over the lake. And I thought to myself, “Am I really living in one of the greatest cities in the world?” The reality still hasn’t really hit me!

Why do I find Chicago so wonderful? Well, apart from the fact that it’s rich with culture and has many other great qualities, here are a couple reasons why I, personally, am loving the city of Chicago.


Anyone who knows me well knows that I LOVE fountains. Lucky for me, this beautiful city has them all over the place, big and small! And the greatest of them all is sitting right outside my window. How awesome is that? Super.

Coffee Shops

Anyone who knows me well ALSO knows how much I love exploring new coffee shops. In Chicago, you can’t walk far without stumbling upon the cutest/coolest/most hipster coffee shop ever. I’ve picked up collecting coffee cup sleeves over this past year from all of the coffee shops I’ve visited and let me tell you, I am in coffee shop heaven.


Chicago has been called the melting pot of America due to the diversity of it’s population. And one thing I love about this city is not only it’s diversity of people, but the neighborhoods of Chicago are so unique themselves. I feel like I could live here all my life and still not experience all of the facets of Chicago.


There is NO shortage of fun places to grab a bite around here. Want Greek food? Head over to Greek Town. Want Chinese food? China Town! Want Italian food? You get the idea.


From the architecture, to the lake, to the river, to the skyscrapers, designs, urban gardens, parks, etc., it’s all beautiful.

There are SO many reasons why I think Chicago is the greatest city in the world and I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity to bask in and learn from its culture and beauty.

fullsizerender-2I can’t wait for this experience to continue to unfold in the next 6 weeks. Woo-hoo!


Photo Credit: Karli Anne Photography