WFU School of Business students fight hunger; Forsyth County school children win

12.3.2013 General, News Release, School News

MA In Management students raise $20,000 to feed children in Forsyth Backpack Program over the holidays

WINSTON-SALEM, NC -Master of Arts in Management students at the Wake Forest University School of Business turned an assignment about food insecurity and hunger in Forsyth County into a competition that raised $20,000 in 5 weeks to feed elementary school children over the holiday break when they don’t have access to school lunches. They will present a check to Forsyth Backpack, a nonprofit agency founded by WFU School of Law professor Barbara Lentz on Wednesday, Dec. 4.

The students, who broke into 28 teams to learn all they could about hunger in Forsyth County, created donation websites, sold colorful rubber bracelets, held bake sales and even hosted a denim day, charging their classmates $3 to wear jeans instead of the required 9-5 business casual attire customary in the MA program.

“What really touched us about the Forsyth Backpack Program was hearing about how many kids struggled with food insecurity right in Winston-Salem,” said Sydney Sfreddo (MA ’14) who raised more than $9,000 along with teammates Art Hailey, Josh Ramos, Andrew Rodriguez, and Natalie Sherman through this website “Being hungry affects their performance in school and ability to learn, and this program helps solve these issues.”

On Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 4 p.m., the four top teams will present their ideas about fighting hunger to a panel of judges, featuring representatives from Second Harvest Food Bank, Samaritan Ministries, WFU Campus Life, a retired RJR executive turned philanthropic consultant, Trader Joes, EY (formerly Ernst & Young), and Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools.

“We chose the issue of hunger for a hands-on learning experiences that would give back to the local community,” said Michelle Horton, director of experiential learning at the School. “This Action Learning Project required them to do research on the issues and use critical thinking and problem-solving skills to address the problem of food insecurity.  They worked with the University’s Campus Kitchens program to collect and redistribute food from dining halls across Winston-Salem, it really was hands-on.”

Horton adds that The Hunger Project also served as an opportunity for the students to gain exposure to servant leadership and celebrate Pro Humanitate, the University’s motto.

Forsyth Backpack is a nonprofit agency that serves about 1,500 Forsyth County school children. Each week, children receive a backpack with food to eat over the weekend when they don’t have access to school lunches.