Rotary, churches rise against hunger

Published 8:36 pm Monday, April 9, 2018

Members of multiple Rotary clubs and local churches and their families partnered with Rise Against Hunger to package tens of thousands of meals for those in need at Ebenezer United Methodist Church on Saturday morning.

Suffolk Rotary, North Suffolk Rotary, Portsmouth Rotary, Smithfield Rotary, Churchland Rotary, Ebenezer United Methodist Church and Churchland Baptist Church were all present to package the meals.

“At the end of this, I want them to feel like this is possible, and I want to get them thinking about changing the world,” said Rise Against Hunger Community Engagement Manager Mike Nelson. “Hunger is an international problem.”

Email newsletter signup

The meals that were packaged include enriched rice, soy protein, dried vegetables and a packet containing 23 essential vitamins and nutrients, and volunteers were in assembly lines to package them all efficiently.

Tables were lined on both sides with five volunteers, each with a specific job, to fill the bag with the required nutrients before it was transferred to another table. The next table had people weighing and sealing the meals before being boxed.

The event was early, but every volunteer seemed to be enjoying the work they were doing. Even the children were having fun getting the meals packed up.

“It’s great to see her get as much out of this as she is,” Portsmouth Rotary Club President Tony Goodwin said about his daughter, Lindsay.

There were others that saw the volunteer work as an opportunity to spend time with the whole family.

“We really feel like we are helping in just a short time,” said Brandon Boyd, a member at Ebenezer United Methodist Church.

Boyd was joined by his wife, Wendy, and their 11-year-old son, Colby.

“It’s something we can do as a family, and something our son is old enough to help with,” said Wendy.

“This event is for international global hunger relief, and we are getting meals to the neediest people,” Nelson said. “No one can do anything without food. Most of these meals go overseas, but we do provide meals to emergencies.”

The main focus of Rise Against Hunger is fighting malnutrition, because their meals are designed for those suffering with chronic hunger.

While they focus on malnutrition, Rise Against Hunger has provided relief to Houston, Florida and Puerto Rico in the aftermath of natural disasters there.

The organization can only provide these meals with the help of volunteers, and anyone can organize a Rise Against Hunger event in their community. It can be set up by contacting the Richmond office at 804-381-6501 or