Drew Unrath

Silver Cord Awardee

MCC alumni and Silver Cord awardee Drew Unrath

Volunteering was always an important part of Drew Unrath’s life.

Having grown up in the Scouting program and eventually becoming an Eagle Scout, he knew he wanted to continue his volunteer work when he started at MCC.

“I talked to some fellow students about volunteering with Feed My Starving Children, an organization in Libertyville whose mission is to end world hunger by sending specially formulated food called ‘MannaPacks’ to severely malnourished children around the world,” Unrath said. “We started going together once a month.”

One of Unrath’s instructors overheard him mentioning these trips and suggested he look into the Silver Cord Award—a distinguished service award available to students who complete at least 100 hours of community service/volunteering while attending MCC. In recognition of this achievement, students receive a silver cord to wear with their robes during graduation.

Unrath earned several hours toward the award with his group volunteering trips, but shortly after that discussion, he ended up leaving MCC to pursue a work opportunity.

“The friends I had gone with moved away, and I eventually stopped volunteering,” he said.

Five years later, Unrath returned to MCC determined to complete not only his Associate in Science and AAS in Marketing—but his Silver Cord as well.

He graduated from MCC in December of 2022 with more than 100 hours of service to Feed My Starving Children. His direct impact totaled around 26,000 meals packed—enough to feed around 70 children one meal per day for an entire year.

“That was an incredibly rewarding feeling,” he said. “There are some places in the world with incredible problems—the war in Ukraine, extreme gang violence in Haiti, a decade-long drought in Somalia—but even with all that, as a volunteer, I got to help people a world away and make their lives a little bit better.”

Volunteering also ended up leading to a full-time job for Unrath. He currently works as a volunteer program supervisor at Feed My Starving Children.

“My primary job is to oversee the packing sessions in which volunteers come in and pack the bags of MannaPack,” he said. “I also help to load and unload trucks and serve on a volunteer engagement committee.”

The experience of earning a Silver Cord was a rewarding one for Unrath and one he would recommend to other students.

“If you are in school trying to become a better version of yourself, I challenge you to extend that mentality to giving back,” he said. “We are students of a community college, and by making our community better—however we are able to—we all will become better because of it.”

See Silver Cord Award criteria