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100,000 meals strong

There are six meals per bag and 36 bags in a box, equaling 216 meals in a box.

One by one, people filled, weighed and sealed bags with dehydrated, high protein and nutritious substances — such as rice, soy and vitamin powder — to send to a devastated nation.

A small army of nearly 300 people of all ages — from toddlers to elderly — from the Churchland, Smithfield and North Suffolk Rotary clubs, Churchland Baptist and Ebenezer United Methodist churches and local Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts came out to package 100,000 meals as part of Stop Hunger Now’s program. The meals will be shipped to Haiti as part of the relief effort.

“Things have been doing very well,” said Nancy Quell, an organizer. “Everything is running like a well-oiled machine. After the snow storm, we thought we’d go down in numbers, but more people decided to join.”

Stop Hunger Now is an international hunger relief organization that aims to coordinate the distribution of food and life saving aid around the world. Its goal is to end world hunger in our lifetime and provide food and aid to the world’s most destitute and hungry.

This year’s event has been in the works since August 2009 and was originally scheduled for Jan. 20 — but was snowed out.

But a snowstorm couldn’t keep them down. At that time, the groups had gathered enough money to package 60-70,000 meals. By Saturday, they’d collected nearly $25,000 to package 100,000 meals.

“We packaged 40,000 meals last year and were planning to do it again this year,” Quell said. “When the earthquake happened, we knew we’d need more help, and more people just came on board to help. We were in a perfect position to focus on the need there.”

While helping the need in Haiti, volunteers also brought canned goods to go to Carrollton Church of God’s food pantry to help their immediate community.

“As long as we are fighting hunger internationally, we figured we could do it locally at the same time,” Quell said.