Top of the morning, April 11, 2015

Top of the morning, April 11, 2015

It's a big day for Max Colon and his Illinois teammates, who will arrive at Memorial Stadium well-rested after a jitter-free night of sleep.

"Nervous? Not at all," the 20-year-old from Mount Prospect said. "There's only a preponderance of excitement and pride."

Colon is president of the student group Illini Fighting Hunger, which today will help package a school-record 148,000 meals as part of Community & Campus Day of Service. The Eastern Illinois Foodbank will distribute the meals to needy families in C-U.

More than 2,200 volunteers are expected to lend a hand, including UI Chancellor Phyllis Wise and Gov. Bruce Rauner.

"One of the great things about this event is that it brings together people of all walks of life to connect through the common goal of addressing a pressing societal issue," Colon said.

It's been a milestone year for 3-year-old IFH, which on Feb. 28 packaged its 1,000,000th meal at an event in Monticello. They didn't exactly cut down the nets afterward. "There was a brief pause and the 200 volunteers present cheered," IFH's Greg Damhorst said.

Then it was back to work, the IFH adding to its impressive career totals of 66,827 pounds of rice, 2,880 pounds of pasta and 20,400 pounds of beans.

That's heavy stuff.

"It's always a sobering experience to learn just how much a literal ton of something is when you have to move the contents of a pallet up and down stairs," Colon said.

Today's packaging runs from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. We'll have photos and stories at news-gazette.com.

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