More than 60 Walsh University students served the night-owl shift from 1 to 5 a.m., during the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank’s sixth annual Operation Orange event on Saturday, September 8. Operation Orange is a 24-hour volunteer event where participants pack food and other essential items for the hunger-relief network.
This year was Walsh’s fifth year sending students to Operation Orange. Members of Campus Ministry Club, Dance Marathon, Education Club, and the Honors Program have packed apples, potatoes, meat and more for the foodbank.
“This was my second year participating in Operation Orange,” said junior Kate Shannon. “I love it because even though it’s late at night, there are so many people there to help the community with a fun and positive attitude.”
During the time that students participated, 13,800 pounds of food were packed, which is the equivalent of 11,500 meals. As a whole, the event helped to provide nearly 143,000 meals to their network of hunger-relief partners. September is Hunger Action Month and the official color of Hunger Action month is orange.
“I love Operation Orange because it unites the Walsh community while also serving those in the greater Akron-Canton community,” said senior and two-time volunteer Rachel Bell. “Only during Operation Orange can you dance and sing your heart out while sorting food in the early hours of the morning. This event is something I look forward to every year, and I know a lot of other students do too.”
The students had fun during their night-owl shift, listening to music, taking breaks to dance and engaging in conversation during their work. The party-like atmosphere helped to keep spirits high and students awake during the late night shift.
"To me, Operation Orange is a time to give back; to give back to others who may not be able to afford fresh fruits and veggies in their everyday lives,” said three-time volunteer and junior Alex Branham. “It is a time to go out and make a difference at 3 a.m. with some of your greatest friends. It is a time to sort various types of food, while also screaming at the top of your lungs to your favorite song. It is a time of pure happiness. I love the opportunity to participate in Operation Orange because I love the chance to be the difference; to be a difference to a stranger I do not even know. I participate in Operation Orange because I love to help others in any way I can and it is a perfect time to be the change in someone else's life."