Rotary, churches seek help fighting hunger

Published 11:34 pm Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Volunteers help pack meals at last year's Stop Hunger Now event at Ebenezer United Methodist Church. This year's event is set for Feb. 2.

Area Rotary clubs are calling on citizens to help with an effort at Ebenezer United Methodist Church to package at least 40,000 meals for families in undeveloped countries.

The fifth annual Stop Hunger Now event will be held at the Eclipse church on Feb. 2 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., said North Suffolk Rotary Club member Wendy Hosick.

The North Suffolk club sponsors the event with its counterparts in Suffolk, Smithfield and Churchland, as well as with Ebenezer and Churchland Baptist Church, all of which have been raising funds to pay for the meals, Hosick said.

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“One package of food in a quart-sized Ziploc bag feeds a family of six,” she said.

While the original goal was to package 40,000 family meals, that figure is more likely to rise to about 60,000 because of the high level of support this year, Hosick said.

The meals will be packaged in one day and the hours extended if required, she said, adding that at least 300 volunteers will be required.

More than 200 have already signed up and at least another 100 are required, she said, adding that folks need not be Rotary members to lend a hand.

“Not every Rotary club has had the opportunity to meet and sign people up, or they leave it to the last minute,” she said. “We usually get some other groups out there, as well.”

Those wishing to volunteer can contact Hosick — via email preferably — at, or on 681-4484.

Folks who do sign up are asked to bring at least one canned food donation for the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia “so we can not only focus on the hunger internationally, but also have a domestic focus,” Hosick said.

The packaged meals are shipped to nations like the Philippines and Honduras, she said. The Stop Hunger Now organization ships the meals and works with other organizations throughout the world to distribute them.

“Stop Hunger Now as a very strong organization, and they know how to let people know what to do, how to do it and when to do it,” she said.

The packing event is an enjoyable experience, Hosick said, adding that multiple generations generally attend, with grandchildren often working alongside grandparents.