Rauner participates in Community and Campus Day of Service


Students prepare to participate in the Community Day of Serive.

By Caeli Cleary

To help the tornado victims in Illinois, Gov. Bruce Rauner joined the Illini Fighting Hunger and other local volunteers to package meals as a part of the University’s Community and Campus Day of Service.

Sarah Zehr, director of operations at the Office of Public Engagement, said Rauner was in Champaign to help kick off National Volunteer Week. During the community event, Rauner worked with over 1,500 volunteers ranging from community members to students and faculty.

While addressing the crowd, Rauner pointed to a van full of packaged food behind him and said the meals were going to northern Illinois to help families in Ogle and DeKalb counties who were impacted by Thursday’s tornadoes.

“Having these meals there make a big difference as they come together to rebuild their lives,” Rauner said.

According to the Champaign-Urbana Volunteer website, 160,000 meals were packaged, 12,000 of which were sent to Fairdale, a town hit by Thursday’s tornadoes.

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Illini Fighting Hunger, a registered student organization that hosts meal-packaging events throughout the state of Illinois, was founded three years ago by Greg Damhorst to address hunger issues and make meal packaging events more effective through student leadership.

“On Tuesday we’re celebrating 1 million meals that we packaged since we started,” Damhorst said. “Today, we are at about 1.25 million total since we’ve started the organization.”

Rauner’s visit was originally part of his Illinois Turnaround Tour, which included visits to 17 Illinois counties to talk about his Turnaround Agenda, or his plan for jobs, employment, taxes and pensions.

However, after tornadoes hit parts of northern Illinois, Rauner spent Friday with victims and wanted to use his visit to the University as an opportunity to help those in need.

“The University of Illinois is wonderful to have this day of service and to particularly focus to help those families who are so in dire need right now,” Rauner said.

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