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Volunteers provide 35,000 meals to “Stop Hunger Now”

Published 11:12 am Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Several churches partnered together this week to provide thousands of meals for needy people.

Crawford Street United Methodist Church once again partnered with the charity organization Stop Hunger Now, to host the packaging of the meals.

SOS volunteers Sarah Fordice, 15, left, and Carly Grace Stribling, 16, pack meal packages into boxes Tuesday for the Stop Hunger Now program.
SOS volunteers Sarah Fordice, 15, left, and Carly Grace Stribling, 16, pack meal packages into boxes Tuesday for the Stop Hunger Now program.

Stop Hunger Now is an international hunger relief agency that has been working to end hunger since 1998. Their mission is “To end hunger in our lifetime by providing food and life-saving aid to the world’s most vulnerable and by creating a global commitment to mobilize the necessary resources.

Volunteer Sarah Fordice said giving back to the needy is fulfilling and necessary.

“I love the feeling of putting others before myself and getting their needs taken care of,” she said.

A volunteer scoops rice to package meals Tuesday for the Stop Hunger Now program.
A volunteer scoops rice to package meals Tuesday for the Stop Hunger Now program.

Volunteers, ranging from elderly adults to children, worked from 3 to 5 p.m. and the teenagers participating in the church’s Service Over Self camp worked from 7 to 9 p.m. to reach their goal of 35,000 meals.

Dozens of volunteers package meals Tuesday for the Stop Hunger Now program.
Dozens of volunteers package meals Tuesday for the Stop Hunger Now program.

With music playing, the sound of a gong ringing would occasionally interrupt to denote every 1,000 meals.

The event was lead by Certified Hunger Event Facilitator “CHEF” Brandon Guych.

He spoke on the enthusiasm of Crawford Street volunteers.

“From the moment I got here people were already helping me unload and get set up. Everyone is very excited.”

The meals were then loaded onto a truck and sent to the distribution center in Jackson, and will subsequently be sent wherever they are needed in one month. The organization distributes to locations worldwide, most recently in the Philippines due to the devastation of Typhoon Hainan.

The meal packaging process was invented in 2005 and is mobile — meaning packaging centers can be set up quickly and in many locations.

Stop Hunger Now has international partners that ship and distribute the meals in country. This week they have packaged over 474,000 meals and since its’ founding has packaged more than 150,000,000 meals.

The meals consist of dehydrated rice, soy, and vegetables all packaged in the same airtight bag. Each meal costs 29 cents to produce, contains 21 essential vitamins and minerals, and has a shelf life of two years. The process of putting them together is very much like an assembly line.

Each volunteer donning his/her own hairnet has a specific task. These ranged from putting each ingredient into the bag, weighing the bags, sealing the bags, and packing them into boxes to be shipped.