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….




Lessons From Nicaragua: The Service Trip of a Lifetime

By: Maria Requena, Junior

It has been exactly six days since I returned home from Las Penitas, Nicaragua. Six days since I left the beautiful country and its people. Six days since I’ve been surrounded by the sounds of construction, Spanish music, crashing waves, and farm animals. Six days since I have last served. Six days since I’ve been home and have had to readjust to the way we live, after having quickly accustomed to living with the NICAs. I knew the moment I hugged Santos and Alberto goodbye, tears in my eyes, for the last time, that I had changed, and the person who had come to Nicaragua just 10 days earlier would never be the same.

View from the roof of a local church in Leon, Nicaragua

Santos, Alberto, and Danilo were our Fuller Center Leaders. Through NCC Breakaway, a group of 16 of us embarked on an adventure to serve those in need through helping build homes through the Fuller Center Global Builders Program. Santos and Alberto spoke English as best they could, and myself and three others served as translators. I went with little expectations, or perceptions, and returned with the memory of the trip of a lifetime. They were so grateful to have us there, and looked out for us as if we were their own children. They served us probably more than we could have served them, and taught us more than we could teach them.

I learned how to mix concrete, bend rebar, how to build a roof, how to spackle. I rode in the back of a pickup truck, ate Nicaraguan Oreos, experienced the joy of my first and hopefully not last plantain chip. But even more importantly, I learned to redefine community, service, love, and kindness.

Mixing concrete for the walls

Our group helped put roofs on three houses, helped remodel the structure of a sinking home, and built a new house from the bottom up. The Fuller Center requires that the family who will be living in the house help in the construction of it. This gave us the opportunity to meet them, converse and learn about them. I mostly worked at the remodeling house, bending rebar and mixing concrete for the bulk of it. The family there consisted of a nurse, a fisherman, a little girl, and a little babe but three months old. Also custom to the process, community members would come by and volunteer their time, despite the fact that this house wasn’t for them, but their neighbor.

It was with them that I learned and experienced what a loving and kind community truly is. These people look after each other like family, and help each other out every way they can. They are very genuine and caring. After all, they are what they have; there is no apple store in sight, or mall. No traffic lights or stop signs, or even road names. Phones and computers are nowhere in sight. Many people walked barefoot, adults and small children alike. Animals were everywhere; pigs, horses, chicken, dogs, just freely roaming in and out of homes. They didn’t belong to any one person, rather to the community. They accept and are grateful for what they are given and what they have, and likewise, welcomed us into their community without a sweat. They not only wanted our help, but they also wanted to help us, and get to know us. They asked us questions about our lives, and likewise, we asked about theirs. They offered prayers and blessings, and luck in our endeavors. We never ran out of ice water. Never went hungry. We were never forced to overwork ourselves; if we began to tire, they told us to take a break in the shade to make sure we would stay healthy and safe. We came to serve them, but often times, it felt like they were serving us.

Progress on raising the roof

Through this I have learned that service is more than simply lending a hand, or helping a process move along faster. Service, at the core of it, is about caring. It’s learning about the people you are helping, and figuring out how you best fit into their story, not the other way around. Service is gratitude; appreciating everything you have been blessed with, and exhaling it back into your community. Service is learning to love; love those whom you serve as much as you love yourself. They will in return, love you as much as they love themselves, and serve you in your time of need. Service is sacrifice; give up your time, your energy, give up your money, your perfectly clean shirt. Giving your soul with gratitude, knowing and reassured that you are making a positive impact in someone else’s life. Service is kindness, in the rawest form of the word.

I came in, excited for adventure, enthused to learn, energized to make a difference. This open mindset made it perfect to absorb all of the love this community had to give. And sure, it was exhausting work, but at the end, I have returned home with even more excitement, enthusiasm, and energy, to serve. This trip has taught me that there are infinite ways to serve, and I don’t plan to rest until I have explored them all.

Group photo at the end of our build week on the Beach at Las Penitas, Nicaragua