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About 60 Bethlehem students chose a day of service over a day off on Martin Luther King Day Monday as they spent the morning packing meals for those less fortunate.
The Bethlehem Interact Club, partnering with the Bardstown Rotary Club, packaged 20,634 servings of rice and soy casserole as part of a service project with the nonprofit Kids Against Hunger organization.
Volunteers were organized around about a half-dozen lunchroom tables Monday morning, carefully measuring out the raw ingredients that included vitamin-fortified crushed soy, dehydrated vegetables, vitamin and mineral powder and rice, which had to mixed in specific order and then weighed to exact weights.
Each bag that contained six servings was then sealed and packed for shipping.
Assisting the 60 students were 26 adult volunteers, 14 of whom were members of the Rotary.
“They’re learning to give back,” said Tommy Reed, a Rotarian and faculty adviser for the Interact Club, which is a Rotary-sponsored service organization.
Each year the club organizes at least two community service projects.
This was the second year in a row for the Kids Against Hunger event.
Reed said this year’s event was named the “Rick Smith Day of Service,” in honor of Rick Smith, a longtime supporter of the school who died unexpectedly late last year.
The bulk of the meals will be headed to the Philippines, which suffered widespread devastation in November from Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms in recent history.
Austin Douglas is a senior at Bethlehem and vice president of the Interact Club, and said the project afforded students a chance to reflect on those who are less fortunate.
“We don’t know what it’s like to go without food,” Douglas said. “It’s something we don’t really understand, and we don’t want anyone else to have to understand it.”