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Maryland Volunteer Day: Coming Together to Ease Hunger in Our Community

In honor of April’s national volunteer month, University of Maryland Global Campus in collaboration with Brighter Bites and Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) hosted UMGC Maryland Volunteer Day on April 20, 2024 at the Hyattsville Branch Library. Open to the community, this event brought together UMGC students, alumni, and staff, along with team members from Brighter Bites and PGCMLS to volunteer at an event designed to provide the local community with food and nutrition resources, teacher appreciation and art activities, and learning opportunities in a fun interactive setting.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food security means always having access by all people to enough food for an active, healthy life. While most U.S. households are food secure, a minority of U.S. households experience food insecurity at times during the year, meaning that their access to adequate food for active, healthy living is limited.

“We know that not everyone has access to the nutritious food they need for themselves and their families to thrive,” says Nikki Sandoval, UMGC's associate vice president of Alumni Relations. “By coming together on UMGC Maryland Volunteer Day, we hoped to ease the burden of families who are experiencing hunger in our local community.”

Partnering to make an impact

In addition to the nearly 100 UMGC, Brighter Bites and PGCMLS volunteers who worked side-by-side to host the event, four local elementary schools helped identify 100 families who could benefit from receiving a box of free produce. These families were invited to participate in the event while they picked up their box. Sponsors Starbucks and Jersey Mike’s were onsite providing refreshments to the volunteers, while Wegmans sponsored the day by providing produce for a community smoothie station.

Volunteers at the heart of it

“This event wouldn’t have been possible without the generous spirit of our volunteers who came together as a community to do something good for others,” says Sandoval.

Throughout the afternoon, volunteers made a positive impact by:

  • Greeting families as they arrived and guiding them to participate in nutrition and art activities
  • Distributing pre-reserved produce boxes to families from local elementary schools
  • Creating appreciation cards for 250 local teachers thanking them for helping to support food programs at their schools
  • Supporting a fun bilingual coloring activity that helped teach children about healthy eating habits
  • Assisting with healthy smoothie nutrition demos and distributing 500 sample tastings
  • Sorting and packing non-perishable items that were donated to a local food bank
  • Sharing local resources and handing out nutrition themed giveaway items

“I really enjoyed taking a few hours out of my day to volunteer for a great event” says A'Fenia Pirtle-Hubbard, a UMGC alumni volunteer. This sentiment was shared amongst the volunteers. Additionally, Caroline Nelson, another UMGC alumni volunteer, reported that she, “valued volunteering my time for a worthy cause.”

About UMGC’s Global Give initiative

UMGC Maryland Volunteer Day was just one part of the university’s Global Give 2024 program. UMGC hosted its second annual Global Give initiative encouraging volunteerism in our global community of alumni, students, staff and faculty. View photos from UMGC’s Maryland Volunteer Day

Read more alumni news.