Tropicana Student Housing will host a meal-packaging community service event this Saturday at the Tropicana Gardens Café through the international hunger relief agen- cy Stop Hunger Now.

Started in 2005 by Tropicana Student Housing Executive Director Dave Wilcox, the Stop Hunger Now event assembles Tropicana students and staff to turn Tropicana Gardens Café into an assembly line of meal-packaging volunteers. Since its creation, Stop Hunger Now has recruited more than 100,000 vol- unteers and has packaged nearly 30 million meals of dehydrated rice, soy, vegetables and nutrients for undernourished people around the world.

Tropicana Student Housing Director of Marketing Wendy Ballard said Stop Hunger Now will distribute the food packaged at the event to underprivileged citizens in numerous countries.

“Stop Hunger Now donates to 76 coun- tries, and any number of those countries will receive the meals we package,” Ballard said. “By contributing and giving meal packets, it’s giving sustenance to people from less fortu- nate nations.”

According to Tropicana Resident Assistant and second-year biopsychology major Melissa Gizzi, the event is part of an even broader effort to help alleviate world hunger.

“Basically it’s a nation-wide thing; they have a truck that drops off a bunch of food supplies to people in need — things like toiletries and small food items,” Gizzi said. “It’s a great way for us to get a lot of different necessities to people who are in need.”

In addition to the charity, Ballard said the event will help volunteers gain a deeper per- spective about the living conditions of people around the world.

“We are so blessed to live in America,” Ballard said. “We complain about meal plans in resi- dence halls [and] we complain about menus while some people don’t have enough to eat and would be thrilled to have what we have on their dinner plate.”

Tropicana del Norte Residence Director Juliette Personius said she is pleased with the enthusiasm that participants have shown towards the event in past years and described it as a great experience for everyone involved.

“I was really afraid that people might think it was boring or uninteresting, but I was surprised to see how enthusiastic they were and how into it they were,” Personius said. “It’s cool because there are all these people gathered around the same cause, and everyone gets really excited and bonds over it. They’re not just doing it, but they’re doing it with joy.”