Volunteers to stop the hunger

Published 10:33 pm Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Area Rotary Clubs are again gearing up for their annual effort to package meals for needy families in undeveloped countries.

The sixth annual Stop Hunger Now event will be held at Ebenezer United Methodist Church in Eclipse on Feb. 1 beginning at 8 a.m., North Suffolk Rotary Club President Wendy Hosick said.

While about 52,000 meals were packaged in 2013, this year organizers are aiming for 100,000, she said.

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But to reach that target, she added, even more volunteers will be needed than the 300-odd who packed the church’s Family Life Center last year.

“We’ll need that and a few more this year, so it can be extended,” Hosick said, adding that more community organizations involved so far should help meet the goal.

“We have the involvement of … (the) North Suffolk, downtown Suffolk, Churchland and Smithfield Rotary clubs,” she said. “We are very excited about that. They are all getting involved and recruiting people, and we are hopeful we will have more of the general community this year as well.”

The task is to package meals in quart-sized bags that can each feed a family of six. The meals are packaged in a single day, with the church hall a hive of activity. Meals in 2013 were sent to the Philippines, Hosick said.

“This year we will have a group of young children whose duty will be to take the packaged meals to the boxing area,” she said, “so they can be boxed and put on the truck. It’s fun to give them that full responsibility.”

Volunteers are asked to donate at least one canned food item, which together are donated to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia. “We are really trying to end hunger from a local and international perspective,” Hosick said.

“We take so much for granted in the U.S., because food is so plentiful. To think that one plastic bag could feed a family of six is overwhelming.”

Folks wishing to sign up can email Phillip Ford at spepa.ford@gmail.com. Hosick said the event is always a lot of fun, with multiple generations of families showing up to work alongside one another for a good cause.

“There’s a training period for the people participating, so they know what they are expected to do,” she said.

“We welcome the entire Hampton Roads community, but specifically Suffolk, to join us.”