Gustafson Coordinates Students, Staff to Feed Those in Need

vhs-meals-heartland3Walking into the Valley cafeteria, you might not expect to see a sea of students in hairnets rocking out to music blasting from the speakers. But that is exactly what senior Grant Gustafson had in mind when he coordinated his senior honors project.

After a year of researching and planning, his efforts helped Meals from the Heartland put 51,624 meals in the hands of those in need across the globe.

Gustafson, who is a member of the Student Leadership Board for Meals from the Heartland, always knew he wanted to incorporate his work with this organization into his honors project.

“Two students last year planned a similar event,” said “So this year I tried to make it bigger with a bigger goal of meals and teams.”

Last year, Amber Aeilts and Abigail Austin planned the event for their honors project and packaged 38,016 meals with around 100 volunteers. Gustafson raised the bar and rallied more than 160 student and staff volunteers to surpass his goal of packaging 50,000 meals.

His unique approach to finding volunteers turned out to be spot on.

“I asked 15 different people to recruit teams of their own,” he explained. “I tried to get people from different activities in the school, so it could be something that brings together groups that normally don’t see each other in such a big school.”