Club Makes Sandwiches to End Hunger

In the bottom of Billings on Tuesday and Friday afternoons, the aroma of gourmet grilled cheese can be smelled as one descends the stairs, thanks to FeelGood.

“It’s about creating part-nerships with people who don’t have the means to support themselves,” Taryn Ross, a UVM senior and president of FeelGood said.

The FeelGood club is one of 10 international chapters, and while it has achieved enormous success on its own, FeelGood is also a part of a larger organization The Hunger Project (THP).

FeelGood debuted at the University of Vermont in the spring of 2005, but according to members, the organization truly got off the ground last year.

“Last year we made $8000. However last semester alone, we made over $10,000,” Ross said. “Now we make $1000 a week on average.”

The gourmet sandwiches that characterize FeelGood’s project have a variety of ingredients, other than just cheese and bread. Saut?©ed onions, saut?©ed green peppers, mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, pesto, pasta sauce, ranch dressing, salsa and garlic are just a few of the extra choices available for the FeelGood grilled cheese sandwich. They also offer vegan cheese.

The FeelGood organization is supported by many local companies. Shelburne Farms donates the cheese, Klingers donates the bread, and Vermont Base Waters donates sodas. Numerous other businesses in downtown Burlington, such as Uncommon Ground and Apple Mountain, also contribute to the FeelGood.

“All the money we make goes to the Hunger Project,” Leah Grossman, a UVM junior and vice president of FeelGood said. “There are eight steps to ending poverty, and the first one is to end hunger.”

The Hunger Project has launched their Millennium Development Goals. According to these goals, the organization is hoping to achieve world wide results. Not only do they plan on eradicating extreme hun-ger and poverty, but another goal is to achieve universal primary education. The Hunger Project states goals of promoting gender equality and empowering women, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health.

“It’s not just about hunger. Empowering women is a big part of it too,” Ross acknowledged.

If that wasn’t a big enough undertaking already, THP also plans to extend their sphere of influence to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensure environmental sustain ability and to develop a global partnership for world wide development.

According to members, the goal of FeelGood is to create partnerships, not charity.

According to the January edition of the FeelGood Newsletter, the money received isn’t looked at as a donation, but as an investment. By selling Gourmet Grilled Cheeses, apparel and holding numerous events to raise money, such as raffles and silent auctions, FeelGood is enabling other countries to start to support themselves.

Thirty active members make up UVM’s FeelGood staff, with five or six people on the counter at a time. By selling the $4.00 sandwiches, these students are helping to end world hunger, “one grilled cheese sandwich at a time.”

Grossman said that her involvement with FeelGood sprung from an e-mail from the UVM listserv.

“I was really inspired by the officers’ passion and drive. I was impressed with the integrity of the group and knew right away that this was something that I wanted to be a part of my life,” Grossman said.

Although the project is making a huge difference, Grossman admitted that it’s not all easy.

“The hardest part of Feel Good is mobilizing the student body to get involved, and to make it click with them that we are legitimately creating change.”