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N.C. State students win national grant

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By Elizabeth Floyd

Two North Carolina State University students were among 15 chosen from across the U.S. to receive grants from a new program supporting partnerships between colleges and community nonprofits.

Brigid Belko and Deepti Vanguri together received a $1,000 grant from the inaugural Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Academic Service Entrepreneur Grant for Campus-Community Collaboration.

The funds enabled Belko and Vanguri to integrate Operation Sharehouse, a project of Stop Hunger Now that provides dehydrated, fortified rice-soy meals to developing countries, with N.C. State’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Service Challenge.

The Jan. 20 event, which packaged 19,000 meals, partnered volunteers from N.C. State with students from Raleigh’s inner-city Ligon Middle School.

An hour-long, small-group discussion with volunteers on social-justice issues, including the impact of hunger and related issues such as poverty and AIDS, preceded the event.

Belko has organized the project at N.C. State in past years, but says the addition of middle schoolers changed everything.

“The middle school volunteers went above and beyond my expectations,” she says. “They had so much to offer to the conversation.”

N.C. State students have established mentoring relationships with the middle school participants and hope to continue this collaborative work in the future, says Belko.

Belko is a senior in the College of Natural Resources with a minor in nonprofit studies through N.C. State’s Institute for Nonprofits, a grantee of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, which publishes the Philanthropy Journal.

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