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UNC organizations fight hunger using "Super Smash Bros" and more

The Carolina Hunger Education & Activism Project (CHEAP) and UNC Esports partnered Saturday for Smash Hunger Now!

Video games and activism came together on Saturday for Smash Hunger Now!, hosted by the Carolina Hunger Education & Activism Project and UNC Esports. 

The goal of the event was to have fun while raising awareness for hunger related issues, Bimba Shrestha, co-chairperson of CHEAP, said. 

Attendees could compete in a "Super Smash Bros" tournament, play games like "Mario Kart" casually or just spectate. 

In addition to games like "Super Smash Bros" and "Mario Kart", there were games themed around hunger. One called "Don’t Starve Together" has players work together with friends to survive in the wilderness. Another called "Overcooked II" focuses on preparing and cooking food while avoiding food waste.

There were also presentations by members of CHEAP and others at UNC who are fighting hunger.

“Our thought process was that we would get to not only get fundraising but also be able to spread our club and awareness about hunger to other people whom we don’t normally get to reach out to,” Janki Patel, co-chairperson of CHEAP, said.

Money raised at the event will go toward Heel Meals, a meal packaging event CHEAP will be hosting in April.

Heel Meals is put on in partnership with Rise Against Hunger, the same organization that hosts the meal packaging event at orientation. 

Shrestha said the organizations expect to pack about 10,000 meals. He said Heel Meals costs about $4,000 to put on, so CHEAP holds events like Smash Hunger Now! to raise funds. 

Shane Steele-Pardue, co-president of UNC Esports, said he was happy to partner with CHEAP for the event. 

“When Bimba reached out to us, giving us an opportunity to also give back to the larger community at UNC we were extremely enthusiastic because we don’t always get to do fundraising or community service all the time,” Steele-Pardue said. “We do, but not as often and so when we have an opportunity to do an event like this — it’s a great opportunity.” 

Shrestha said the two clubs have a good relationship and there are a lot of mutual contacts between them. Esports provided all the equipment for the event, while CHEAP provided the venue and knowledge of hunger issues.

Patel said she was happy with how the event turned out, and that CHEAP plans to start holding it annually. 

“I think it’s definitely been a success in terms of the people here," Patel said. "They seem to be enjoying it and also it’s been a really good way for us to earn funding and spread awareness.”

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