J-Day – a day to eat, play, and give. On a day dedicated to eating, playing, and giving, it only made sense that Alliance Abroad teamed with the Central Texas Food Bank to give back!

For those who are unaware, J-Day is a nationwide celebration acknowledging the positive influence of international exchange. Today, across the United States, thousands of foreign students and individuals participating in cultural exchange programs under the J-1 Visa set out to volunteer and give back to their communities. For Alliance Abroad, that meant partnering with the Austin, TX branch of the Central Texas Food Bank to package produce for families in need all across Central Texas. In fact, many Alliance Abroad team members and sponsored J-1 participants came together at the Central Texas Food Bank to spend their day giving back to their community.

The Central Texas Food Bank works with food donors across the country, along with financial donors and hundreds of volunteers to fill unmet hunger needs around Central Texas. In fact, because of so much support from various partners, donors, and volunteers, the Central Texas Food Bank was able to bring 45 million meals to the Central Texas community in 2017!

The beauty of working with the Central Texas Food Bank was in being around so many individuals united towards the same goal of giving back. Of course, jamming out to music, preparing bags of healthy produce, and exchanging smiles and laughter with good-

hearted company is never a bad thing either. Nonetheless, to say there was a room full of love would be an understatement.

It is always an important achievement when different backgrounds, cultures, and mindsets come together to unite towards a singular cause. That is what J-Day allowed us to do! But more importantly, J-Day shows us how even international exchanges can create the smallest ripples in our communities, as well as across the nation, that will eventually turn into great waves. And on that note, we are happy to say that through the efforts made today, Alliance Abroad was able to provide 2,880 meals to families across Central Texas; that’s something we couldn’t have done without the help of our global family!

Oh, and last but not least, let’s not forget the PLAY:

Following the day of service, many J-1 Program participants in the Austin, TX area came together at Zilker Park to share in an afternoon of play; the day was chock full of water balloon fights and egg tosses, volleyball games, and the all-around exploration of Zilker Park in Austin. This was just another addition to the beauty of international exchange, and how bringing individuals together from all backgrounds creates for a day of eating, playing, and giving!

We give our thanks to all who gave their time, energy, and efforts to make this annual J-Day a monumental success.