Tag Archives: Raleigh

a joy I find nowhere else

It’s almost 5:00pm and I am on my way home from India and Nicaragua. I am feeling a little ragged around the edges, but it will definitely be good to sleep in my own bed tonight.

I am currently in Atlanta. My flight gets into RDU after 9:00. By the time I get my car and get on the road it will probably be around midnight before I see Lynchburg. Since we left the hotel just a little after 5am that makes for yet another long day, but nothing a good night’s sleep won’t take care of.

I thoroughly enjoyed my brief time in Bangalore. But, the time in Nicaragua was like a cure for all that ails me. Being back in the field brings a joy I can find no where else. It makes all the stress of long flights a long layovers bearable.

I’ll be glad to get home…but the truth is that I would far rather still be in the mountains of Nicaragua working to change the lives of the least of these among us.

a celebration of caring

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On Dec. 10, 2005, 50 volunteers formed an assembly line at a Raleigh warehouse for Stop Hunger Now’s inaugural meal packaging event. Those volunteers packaged 20,000 meals to feed people suffering from hunger.

In the 10 years since, we have enlisted hundreds of thousands of volunteers who have packaged over 225 million meals at 19 locations in the U.S. and six more abroad. The Raleigh warehouse alone has packaged over 33 million meals, including nearly 4.6 million meals packaged last year by over 29,000 people at 278 meal packaging events.

To mark the 10th anniversary of our meal packaging program, Stop Hunger Now will host an event at its Raleigh warehouse on December 12, 2015,  that is expected to attract several hundred volunteers who will package over 100,000 meals. To register to attend, click here.

Initially developed to help provide rapid relief for disasters, meal packaging now is part of a larger strategy to help boost education and sustainable development in impoverished regions of the world. Stop Hunger Now distributes meals through schools, orphanages, health clinics, vocational training programs and, increasingly, through programs that focus on women’s health, women’s education and maternal & fetal health.

CyEYgVngsaV6pD8fAr-wSIlgdfHNmdCr0jU-h39ISQs,Xa7kHgcFxIDTeht9YjfwnPIPpgeowTE9ypQwZ1Oacew“We leverage the meals so we’re not just killing hunger pains but transforming lives and society,” says Darron Stover, Raleigh program manager for Stop Hunger Now. As a member of Fairmont United Methodist Church in Raleigh, which housed Stop Hunger Now for over 11 years starting shortly after it was formed in 1998, Stover participated in the inaugural meal packaging event. He then quickly volunteered to help organize and coordinate other meal packaging events. A year ago, he joined Stop Hunger Now as a full-time employee.

The Rev. Steve Hickle was pastor at Fairmont United Methodist Church and a member of the Stop Hunger Now board of directors at the time of the first meal packaging event. “We’re building a movement to end hunger,” says Hickle, who now is Faith Outreach Director for Stop Hunger Now. He has developed partnerships with over 30 Christian faith  groups and eight other faith groups in the movement to end world hunger.

Meal packaging provides a highly visible point of entry for people to get involved in eradicating hunger, which affects nearly 800 million people, down from one billion 20 years ago, Hickle says. “By offering this experience, we’re having an impact on education and development in many places,” he says. “We’re one piece of a growing movement, and we invite others to join with us in any place they can help end world hunger.”

Grab your family and friends (all ages welcome!) and join us for the 10th-anniversary commemoration in Raleigh.  Click below to save your spot!

REGISTER (2)

– See more at: http://www.stophungernow.org/10-years-225-million-meals-and-counting/#sthash.aMgLtrQa.dpuf

Well Done SHN SA!

The end of my trip is at hand. Early this evening I am scheduled to leave from Johannesburg and fly to Atlanta and then on to Raleigh. There I will pick up a rental car, go to the Stop Hunger Now office for a couple hours to debrief and catch up on some back administrative chores. After that, I have a 3 hour drive back home to Lynchburg.

It’s going to be a rather long trip, but what makes it worthwhile is all the good work that has been accomplished during my brief time here in Mozambique and South Africa. In Maputo, Mozambique I helped celebrate Ma Machel’s 70th birthday as we packaged 70,000 meals for malnourished school children.

That event was also a milestone for Stop Hunger Now South Africa. It was the first meal packaging event they organized outside of their own country. And the Minister of Education  for Mozambique, who attended and spoke at the event, has already requested that more meal packaging events be scheduled.

Here in Johannesburg I have had a delightful time meeting new staff and new board members. I have also been able to help with some fundraising and to give an official thanks to some of SHN South Africa biggest corporate and faith-based partners.

It’s been a whirlwind of events, meetings and dinners, but I will head for home more proud than ever of the great work being accomplished here on behalf of the hungry. Stop Hunger Now South Africa is our first international affiliate, and it is leading by example. Saira Khan, our Executive Director, and her entire board and staff are demonstrating that we can end hunger in our lifetime. Kudos and “Well Done!” to all of them.

exciting stuff

Our entire United Methodist VIM team has now made it safely back home with one exception…me. I am still in Raleigh for meetings, but I hope to be home in Virginia by early evening.

The trip home from South Sudan was uneventful (brutally long, totally exhausting and sleepless, but uneventful). And that is about all that can be said for it. For future reference, however, having an 11 hour layover in Entebbe after our first flight really makes the remainder of the trip seem much longer. And having a middle seat for the 19 hours of flights afterward doesn’t help much either.

But after a long hot shower and a night’s rest I cannot wait to begin working on the next steps on all the possible projects we discovered. The need is so great. But the need is matched with tremendous opportunities to make a positive difference in the lives of thousands.

We can help transform the future of those living in poverty and hunger in South Sudan. We can help change the history of a nation. That’s exciting stuff.

Our trip is now officially over. Now the hard work begins: translating the vision of what is possible into a reality that is reflected in a transformed world.

I cannot wait to begin.

Hoorah! heading to Yei!

This is the day that the Lord has made, therefore I will rejoice in it and be glad.

In about a half hour I will be heading to Raleigh, beginning my two-week trip to South Sudan. And I will happily admit that I am excited and ready to get started. I am not looking forward to the somewhat brutal amount of travel to get to that part of the world. But I am truly looking forward to being in Uganda and South Sudan.

I have been in South Sudan numerous times. I love the country. I love the people. And I love the opportunities there to really make a difference in the lives of so many.

Please pray for al of us on this United Methodist VIM (Volunteers In Mission) Team. We have an audacious schedule for our time in Yei, but the potential for good demands it.

I will try to be faithful with trip updates.  Please stay tuned.

on the road to South Sudan

Tomorrow I will drive down to Raleigh on the first leg of my trip to South Sudan. The afternoon will be spent at the Stop Hunger Now office and gathering last minute supplies for my time in South Sudan.

Then on Wednesday I will meet the rest of the VIM team at RDU to begin our flights. We fly from Raleigh to Atlanta where we will meet the final person on our team. From Atlanta we will fly to Amsterdam where will have about a 4 hour layover before our flight to Entebbe, Uganda.

We will spend one night in Entebbe before catching our flight into Yei, South Sudan. If all goes accord to plan we will arrive in Yei on Friday.

Then the fun begins. Every day the team is in South Sudan has been planned so that we might have the maximum impact. It’s going to be an exciting trip, with the potential to accomplish an amazing amount of solid work that will have huge long-term results.

More to follow so stay tuned.

Joy to the World

After flying back to Raleigh from a wonderful packaging event at Canterbury United Methodist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, I have spent the week here. The timing was perfect as there were numerous meetings and other engagements that required my participation.

One surprise was that yesterday when I walked into the office, Ryan, our administrative assistant in the International Program office handed me a stack of personal mail. Since I am no longer in the office on a regular basis, the mail had accumulated and no one had thought to give it to me before yesterday.

I enjoyed seeing Christmas greetings from several colleagues and old friends. Then I opened a small Christmas card from a name I didn’t recognize. The front of the card read “Joy to the World. ” Inside was this personal note.

Dear Ray,

I heard a SHN presentation 2 years ago & have wanted to send this donation ever since. Thank you for inspiring all of us to do more.

Gratefully,

Also inside the card was a folded check for $1500 to Stop Hunger Now.

What a wonderful way to begin the day. The kind words and the gift are powerful affirmations that the message and the work of Stop Hunger Now continue to touch lives around the world.

Thank you to all who are working to make a difference in the lives of those most in need. Feeding the hungry is the work of Christmas, and it goes on long after the decorations are taken down and the trees are gone.

Thanks for caring enough to act. Thank you for being a part of a global movement to end hunger in our lifetime.Working together we are changing the world.