Students at NRCC Hold Food Drive as They Recover From Shooting

Christiansburg, VA - Students at New River Community College are held a fundraiser Friday as they try to recover from last week's shooting.

On April 12, a gunman opened fire at the satellite campus at the New River Valley Mall. Two students were wounded.

The shooting almost put a stop to a campaign students and faculty at the college were working on that would provide 10,000 prepackaged meals to needy children in Nicaragua.

But after a little debate, organizers decided to use the event for "Stop Hunger Now" to help campus begin the process of healing.

For more than six months, student government leaders and faculty have been raising the money needed to host this event.

"The trauma of the whole happening. Everybody was in such total shock and we didn't think we could come together in a few days time," said Red Rae Lee, Student Government Association Advisor.

The shooting almost put a stop to the event until leaders decided the best thing to do was to push forward and use the event for a dual purpose.

"We decided that this could be a time in which we do something wonderful for others - "Stop Hunger Now - and at the same time stand side by side with the faculty and staff and start the healing with ourselves," said Lee.

M.J. Silcott, the SGA secretary, watched the attack via teleconference and couldn't agree more.

"Unfortunately Friday's tragedy was so terrifying for so many but it's not an aspect of giving up. It's about moving forward."

NRCC Activities Director Dr. Ben Kramer survived the attack; at one point seeing the gunman in the hall.

"It was a terrifying nightmare for everyone that was there at the time," said Kramer.

He agrees as well.

"We wanted to taste success. Especially after what we've been through... that strengthened our resolve."

So they pushed on - raising all the money needed and drawing more support than they could have imagined. Using the gift of giving to open the door for a community that needs healing.

"Unfortunately we come through obstacles in life that try to prevent us from moving forward. We just have to step over those and move on," said Silcott.

The SGA also operated a fully stocked cantina during the event that offered snacks, drinks and group shirts with most of the money raised going to the two victims of the shooting.

Beyond that, $2,500 was raised to pay for the food and shipment of those meals to those needy kids in Nicaragua.