Groups work to end hunger

Published 8:19 pm Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The North Suffolk Rotary Club in conjunction with the Smithfield and Churchland Rotary Clubs and Ebenezer United Methodist and Churchland Baptist held a “Stop Hunger Now” packaging event at Ebenezer United Methodist Church on Saturday. Volunteers prepared 40,000 meals.

The North Suffolk Rotary Club and Ebenezer United Methodist are working to put an end to hunger around the world.

The North Suffolk Rotary Club, in conjunction with Ebenezer United Methodist Church, Churchland Baptist Church and the Smithfield and Churchland Rotary clubs, held a “Stop Hunger Now” packaging event on Saturday at Ebenezer.

Stop Hunger Now is an international program with the mission of ending hunger by providing food and resources to the poorest and most vulnerable areas of the world. The organization has been distributing food and resources since 1998. It has provided more than $70 million in meals and aid to countries all over the world, according to the Stop Hunger Now website. It most often provides meals for school lunch programs, but it also supplies meals for crisis relief.

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“A meal is approximately 25 cents,” said Nancy Quell, who organized the event. “With hands-on opportunities available, it is a wonderful way to feed a very needy population in a Third World country at such a low cost.”

During the event, volunteers packed air-tight bags with pre-arranged measurements of rice, a vegetable mixture, vitamins and soy, said Tony Coppa, president of the North Suffolk Rotary Club. Each bag contained enough food for six meals.

Volunteers sealed the bags, packed them in boxes and loaded a truck for transport.

“These folks were doing that in the rain last Saturday,” Coppa said.

This is the third year that the groups have gathered for the event.

Volunteers at the event produced a total of 40,000 meals for the hungry. These meals eventually will arrive in one of three vulnerable areas — Haiti, Nicaragua or Zimbabwe, Quell said.

Quell described the event as a multi-generational because it included not only Rotary Club members, but also members of their families.

Tom Anderson, past president of the North Suffolk Rotary Club, said he was excited to see so many young people volunteering at the event because it teaches about community service and helping others.

“It’s a great thing that’s being done,” Anderson said. “It helps feed the world.”

The program depends on monetary and food donations. All three Rotary clubs and both churches accept donations year-round for Stop Hunger Now, Quell said. Stop Hunger Now also accepts donations online.

“The idea that a quarter can feed a child a school lunch makes it such an easy thing to do,” Quell said.