December 18, 2023
On Campus

Making a Difference

Lesotho Nutrition Initiative hosted numerous packing events this year to help combat malnourishment in Lesotho

Trying to make a difference in the lives of children suffering from malnourishment in Lesotho in southern Africa, the Lesotho Nutrition Initiative (LNI) has packed more than 300,000 meals following its final two packs of the year, the last local one being on Dec. 14 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Wittenberg’s 1929 Fieldhouse inside the Health, Wellness and Athletics Complex.

Throughout the semester, LNI covered Springfield and the surrounding areas with special packing events, including at Catholic Central, Springfield High School, Peace Lutheran Church of Beavercreek, United Senior Services, First Lutheran Church of Springfield, Five Seasons Tennis Club, Lancaster Lutherans, St. Ursula Academy, Springdale Nazarene Church, Summit Academy, GISA, Twin Valley South, Enon Montessori, and on-campus packs with the men's lacrosse team and First Year Seminar sections. Several Wittenberg alumni continue to remain active in the organization, assisting in both packs and in serving on its board of directors.

“LNI goes to different schools and churches around the area gathering volunteers to help pack food to send to Lesotho, South Africa, to help reverse the effects of malnourishment,” said LNI intern Emmalee Do, class of 2026 from Lancaster, Ohio, who is majoring in education and pursuing a minor in African and Diaspora Studies.

“This semester was our first semester having interns for LNI,” she added. “Our interns have also been involved in Greek life, Mock Trial, the Tiger Team, NAMI, honors, peer mentoring, and more.”

LNI, founded by H.O. Hirt Professor of History Scott Rosenberg, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created by a small group of Wittenberg students and faculty members. The student-led organization provides more than 500,000 meals a year to more than 3,000 children in Lesotho, a country of slightly more than two million with an estimated 120,000 orphans and an estimated 35 percent of children under the age of five years who suffer from severe malnutrition and stunting. Only 11 percent of Basotho children aged six to 23 months fall into the criteria for a minimum acceptable diet. Rosenberg, chair of the history department and director of the Peace Corps Prep Program at Wittenberg, has taken more than 500 Wittenberg students and community members on service-learning trips to Lesotho since 2003.

“These meals allow children to help reverse the effects of any malnourishment issues that they may already have. It not only helps their physical development, but also with their cognitive development which can allow them to truly reach their full potential,” said Do, who is also the 2024 president of her sorority Alpha Xi Delta and a member of the Tiger Team.

“Being involved in LNI is very meaningful to me,” she continued. “It is a simple way to really benefit people who need it. I feel very strongly that if you can help, then you should. I am also very passionate about helping children develop in the best ways they can. I know that different places struggle with different things, and Lesotho especially struggles a lot with malnourishment. It is important to me to help with this in any way that I can. I have not been to Lesotho yet, but I am planning to go on the Lesotho Service trip this summer. I am excited to go and see how these meals help their communities in different ways.”

Participants on the trip spend four weeks in service, building houses, planting gardens, creating playgrounds, conducting education painting at schools, and volunteering at orphanages and a pediatric AIDS clinic, among other activities.

LNI partners with organizations across Lesotho to combat childhood malnutrition, providing meals that contain nutritional supplements to children in Lesotho who have been diagnosed as suffering from severe/chronic malnutrition and stunting, also known as wasting. Since its founding in 2014, LNI has raised more than $500,000 to date, partnered with more than 30 schools, universities, churches, and businesses in the Midwest for approximately 120 packing events and has packed more than 3.5 million meals reaching all corners of Lesotho.

If interested in volunteering for LNI, follow its Instagram account @lesothonutritioninitiative, check its website, or contact Do or Rosenberg. The organization is always looking for volunteers.

Cindy Holbrook
Cindy Holbrook
Senior Communications Assistant

About Wittenberg

Wittenberg's curriculum has centered on the liberal arts as an education that develops the individual's capacity to think, read, and communicate with precision, understanding, and imagination. We are dedicated to active, engaged learning in the core disciplines of the arts and sciences and in pre-professional education grounded in the liberal arts. Known for the quality of our faculty and their teaching, Wittenberg has more Ohio Professors of the Year than any four-year institution in the state. The university has also been recognized nationally for excellence in community service, sustainability, and intercollegiate athletics. Located among the beautiful rolling hills and hollows of Springfield, Ohio, Wittenberg offers more than 100 majors, minors and special programs, enviable student-faculty research opportunities, a unique student success center, service and study options close to home and abroad, a stellar athletics tradition, and successful career preparation.

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