A few hours of effort by Whetstone High School Key Club members and community volunteers can save hundreds of lives more than 8,500 miles away.
That's the impact the Lesotho Nutrition Initiative food-packing event at 2:45 p.m. Nov. 16 can have, said Maddy O'Malley, a 2014 graduate of Whetstone who is now a senior at Wittenberg University.
O'Malley is the daughter of Clintonville attorney William O'Malley, a member of the Kiwanis Club of Northern Columbus, which sponsors the Key Club. She also is president of the Lesotho Nutrition Initiative at Wittenberg. The organization, formed by professor Scott Rosenberg to bring aid to the drought-stricken African nation, achieved nonprofit status earlier this year, Maddy O'Malley said.
The event at the high school, 4405 Scenic Drive, will mark the second year Key Club members and community volunteers have helped pack food for the nation of Lesotho, an enclave of South Africa that's home to more than 2 million people .
"We need people for the event because we'll be packing 20,000-plus meals," William O'Malley said. "The more people we have there, the faster we can get it done.
"We certainly have the need for 150 people, and so we would certainly look forward to having some volunteers show up."
The meal-packing will run through about 6 p.m., he said.
Maddy O'Malley, who joined the Lesotho Nutrition Initiative after making a trip to the country in 2016, said becoming the organization's president has been an interesting experience.
"I've learned that things aren't always black and white, which has been a really beneficial experience with me," she said. "It's been really awesome to have the opportunity to take on a leadership role."
"Preparations are going great," said David Smith, the Key Club's faculty adviser. "It primarily involves getting the kids committed to coming in, getting as many hands on deck as we can. I think we're ready to go."
Club members have raised $500 to help pay for the food during fundraisers at local restaurants, Smith said.
Key Club member Armando Prince said he and the other students are thrilled that work they do can help save lives half a world away.
"I think that's great," he said. "Just being able to do that in high school is really life-changing."
"Obviously when you think about some of the suffering that's going on in Lesotho, just to be able to affect any kind of positive change, the kids get excited about that," Smith said.