Students raced around the Rock Friday, snatching multicolored balloons and stuffing them into plastic bags, to raise money for an organization fighting hunger in the Chicago area.
As part of the first Feed the Rock event, the University Lutheran Church and other campus religious organizations staged a giant game of Hungry-Hungry Hippos.
“The game is calling attention to the hunger crisis in Chicago,” said Kayce Gentry, a church member. “It is a very serious problem; I don’t think the NU community is aware of it.”
The idea to play a larger-than-life version of Hungry-Hungry Hippos, which raised about $130 for the Interfaith Action of Evanston, came from Communication senior Max Holste. Raising money for the hungry was a result of the church group’s close connections with agencies such as the Greater Chicago Food Depository, he said.
With a $1 donation, students were able to play a 30-second game to help thousands of people in Chicago who are constantly in need of food, Holste said. Participants needed to get as many balloons as possible into designated plastic bags held by volunteers, who awarded Tootsie Rolls at the end of each round.
“A donation of $1 can give a family of four a nutritious meal,” he said. “For a dollar, students can play a game from their childhood, something that will allow them to feel more connected to the cause.”
It was great having a game that could tie in with hunger because it would make people participate, said Weinberg freshman Kaila Mueller.
“I love Hungry-Hungry Hippos,” she said. “It was exciting to play a game and know that it was helping people at the same time.”
Although Holste was pleased with the outcome of the event, he said he wishes more religious student groups had been invited to help with the event. This year University Lutheran Church, Sheil Catholic Center, Canterbury Northwestern, Hillel and University Christian Ministry were the participating religious groups.
“Fighting hunger goes far beyond religious divides,” he said.
University Lutheran Church plans to team up with other religious groups next year to continue the event, Holste said.
“There is nowhere to go but up and make it better,” he said.