Students part of LYNAY prepared over 160,000 meals to send to refugees in Northern Iraq and Jordan this week in a service partnership with Global Samaritan Resources and Midland’s Golf Course Road Church of Christ.
LYNAY sent 100 students Monday afternoon to begin packing what will be Global Samaritan’s first major food shipment. Two hundred more students volunteered Tuesday and Wednesday to finish boxing one-third of the total food that will be sent to the Middle East.
“I think it’s really cool, man, it’s more of a privilege to be selected to be doing this kind of thing,” said Youry Jean, a sophomore kinesiology major from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “We’re all the way here in Abilene, and we’re helping folks that are all the way across the world that are in need.”
Danny Sims, executive director of Global Samaritan, said the project was initiated by members of Golf Course Road Church of Christ about six months ago. Church members and 600 other volunteers will finish packing what the students aren’t able to finish on Saturday.
“This is a little unique because the students are packing the food by hand,” Sims said. “It gets them literally involved, it gets their hearts involved, too. We’ve done other shipments of food and supplies to both of these areas, but this is the first major shipment of food that we’ve packed in our warehouse.”
Dr. Gary McCaleb, vice president of the university’s office and LYNAY sponsor, said Global Samaritan reached out to the organization about three months ago regarding this service opportunity.
“This is the first time we’ve ever had something that was big enough that everybody could do it,” McCaleb said. “So it’s a great opportunity.”
If all goes as planned, the food will be distributed to refugee camps in Northern Iraq and Jordan, but Sims said there are a lot of moving parts.
“The food will go to one of two places, and it could possibly go to both places depending on what doors open up,” Sims said.
The refugee camps are temporary homes for Christian and Muslim internally displaced person (IDP) refugees.
“We all hear about what’s going in Syria and Iraq, and Jordan for that matter, but rarely do we see American college students doing something about it,” said Colton Powell, freshman business major from Nashville, Tennessee. “People are enjoying doing it. It’s not like it’s just more work, because we know what we’re accomplishing right now.”
Global Samaritan said this is a ‘space available program,’ which means it’s known when the food will reach the refuges. Sims said the boxes will be loaded on the next available cargo plane leaving from Dyess Air Force Base.