Tag Archives: volunteers

using hunger to help solve hunger

[This post is reprinted from the Stop Hunger Now blog page]

Going Hungry to Solve Hunger

Guest post written by Kara Cloud, a student at St. Joseph High School in Trumbull, Connecticut, and participant in this year’s 30 Hour Famine at St. Philip Church.

Inmy first year participating in St. Philip’s 30 Hour Famine, I was initially most struck by the diversity of the people who joined together to fight hunger — young and old, poor and wealthy, religious and nonreligious, parents, high school and elementary school students. All people, all participants in the 2015 30 Hour Famine, were there because they wanted to be.

That’s what intrigued me: who would want to give up four meals, do some physical labor, and spend 30 hours not eating with kids of all ages whom they had never met before? I was interested to the point where I had to figure out what it was all about. I entered with curiosity — I had no expectations seeing as I had not partaken in any event like this before. And I had no idea what a life-changing experience I was about to have.

Typically, people are brought together over meals: holiday celebrations, cooking with parents, meeting up with friends for a dinner out. Yet, nothing has ever made me feel such a bond with others as voluntarily giving up our food for thirty hours to raise awareness for world hunger and poverty. How does your hunger help keep those thousands of miles away from being hungry? I’ve grown up asking myself the same question.

When I was in elementary school, the people working in the cafeteria would always scold the students who threw away their uneaten meals saying, “There are children starving in Africa!” However, it was never explained to us what we should do to help them — because clearly stuffing myself wasn’t going to make them less hungry and there was no efficient way to donate the excess food on my lunch tray to those in need.

It took until my sophomore year in high school before someone gave me an alternative that made sense to me: instead of taking what we have for granted, learn to live without and by doing so, learn to appreciate our privilege and do something with it.

We are lucky to be a nation that has to force ourselves to eat less, because we have the excess food at our fingertips. We are lucky to be able to deny our children dessert, because we have that dessert to deny. Why should we, who are only given these opportunities by chance, not feel some sort of responsibility to give others the same chance to eat a wholesome meal?

Going hungry is not the same as being hungry, and all of the participants at 30 Hour Famine were well aware of their privilege as they came together to package 20,000 meals for the hungry in Burkina Faso, one of the poorest countries in the world located in West Africa. We were all thankful that in 30 hours we would be guaranteed a meal, that the hunger we felt would pass. It made the experience more bearable, easing the grumbles in our stomachs.

However, while my feeling of hunger was pacified by knowing I could eat soon, my feeling of guilt at how lucky I am to be in the small portion of the world’s population that is guaranteed a meal at every breakfast, lunch, and dinner break was not as easily forgotten. We all were united with this recognition of our privilege and worked to grant others the same assurance of another meal, an escape from hunger, by taking donations at supermarkets, packing lunches, and making economical and substantial food through Stop Hunger Now and Catholic Relief Services in a system that uses basic ingredients to provide sustenance for a family of six for one meal.

Everything I learned — the hunger facts, the importance of unity, numerous causes to raise money for, greater appreciation for my privilege — is evident in my smile, my composure, my thoughts. I came to the 30 Hour Famine a blank slate ready to be changed — and I did change. I became more aware, more appreciative, and more global-minded. The most important thing for one’s first Famine experience is to come ready to be changed, and then to go inspire change in the world. Use the fuel given by the food are you are lucky enough to eat, and go fuel some change.

To learn more about the 30 Hour Famine and how you can participate, please visit http://stphilipnorwalk.weebly.com/30-hour-famine.html.

This article originally appeared on The Hour.

200,000,000 & counting

The following article comes from the Stop Hunger Now newsletter. It is a powerful testimony to the compassion and commitment of our volunteers to make a real difference in the world by ending hunger in our lifetime.

Packaging Infographic

Stop Hunger Now recently reached a milestone in its mission to end world hunger — 200 million meals packaged. Through its popular community-supported meal packaging programs, more than 600,000 volunteers have packaged the highly nutritious dehydrated meals comprised of rice, soy, vegetables and 23 essential vitamins and minerals.

Around the world, more than 805 million people lack adequate food. Stop Hunger Now operates meal packaging locations in 19 cities throughout the U.S. and international locations in South Africa, Malaysia, Philippines, Italy and India.  More than 6000,000 volunteers from corporations, churches, schools and civic organizations have packaged Stop Hunger Now meals.

Groups of all sizes and ages can organize a meal packaging event with Stop Hunger Now to assemble meals that are used to support development programs such as school feeding programs, vocational training programs, early childhood development programs, orphanages, and medical clinics.  Working with these programs helps enhance lives by giving beneficiaries the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty through education, skills development, and health care while also receiving much-needed nutrition.

 

bending history

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.” – Robert F. Kennedy

I am proud to be a part of a generation full of people wanting to make a real difference in the world. I see that desire every day.

I see it in the hundreds of thousands of Stop Hunger Now volunteers who package meals for hungry school children around the world. I see it in those walking for a cure to cancer. I see it in the millions of dollars donated to charities every year.

Few of us will have the greatness that our actions make the history books. Yet Kennedy is right when he says that all of us working together can change the world.

Every one of us can make a real and a lasting difference in the lives of others. Every one of us can play a vital role in changing our world into a better, safer, and more compassionate place.

Working together we can end hunger in our lifetime. We can clean up the environment.

Working together we can do more than bending history. We can rewrite history. We can change the world forever.

two million meals…and counting!

I am currently in Birmingham, Alabama where I have had the privilege of helping celebrate a huge milestone at Canterbury United Methodist Church. The story from a recent Stop Hunger Now Staff Update tells the story.

Volunteer Highlight – First MPE host to reach 2 million meals!  

This Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, 3,000 volunteers from the Birmingham, AL community will package 500,000 meals for people in need around the world. That meal-packaging blitz will bring to two million the number of meals that over 8,000 volunteers from those churches have prepared in partnership with Stop Hunger Now since 2011.

 Canterbury UMC has led the charge in partnership with other Birmingham churches, Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, St. Stephens Episcopal Church, and Brookwood Baptist Church in Birmingham. The meals packaged over the past 5 years have been shipped to Honduras, Haiti, Azerbaijan, Zambia and the Philippines.  

 Join us in celebrating this huge milestone for our team and our committed MPE partners in Birmingham!  

 Check out their video from last year’s event.  http://vimeo.com/89150093

What the update cannot completely convey is the sense of excitement and the deep commitment all the members of Canterbury have for partnering to feed hungry children around the world. Last year, a group of five women from the church even travelled to Haiti to see the meals they had packaged being distributed.

And now a couple of their partner churches have decided to do their own 500,000 meal events! What a powerful example of love in action. Canterbury United Methodist Church’s commitment to feeding the hungry is a powerful demonstration of living out the gospel.

a true means of hope

The Church… has a unique role to play, for the estrangement experienced by modern humanity flows fundamentally from the loss of true community. That is what the band of those committed to the Good News can restore. A beginning point for their witness is the setting forth of a model for community which rests on new values and embodies the first signs of a New Order in the world. Economically, socially, racially, and spiritually, such new communities can point the way to the rest of the world, and become true means of hope for us all to build a future of promise and creativity. – Mark Hatfield

In June 1979, almost thirty-three years ago, several of us began the Society of St. Andrew, which we called “an intentional community for covenant living.” We were attempting to accomplish exactly what Senator Hatfield is describing in the above quoted statement. We were trying to model a community based on relationships rather than consumerism and acquisition. Just how effective our witness was is up to question, but the impact of such a new model for community on those of us within the Society of St. Andrew was profound.

And from that new model has come a great number of effective and powerful national and international programs for the poor and hungry that continue to save hundreds of thousands lives every year. The Potato Project, the Harvest of Hope, the Gleaning Network, and the Virginia Hunters for the Hungry all provide millions of meals for hungry citizens in this country. And Stop Hunger Now works in over 65 nations providing  millions of meals annually to school children who otherwise would not eat.

What means the most to me is that all these programs are volunteer driven. Not only are millions being fed, hundreds of thousands of compassionate and caring people are provided the opportunity to reach out and make a real difference in the lives of those most in need. That’s not too bad for just one attempt to develop a new model of community. As my first and favorite bishop was fond of saying,”that’s definitely no small thing.” Maybe new models of community are a true means of hope.

a global movement

Stop Hunger Now is an amazing organization. It continues to far exceed my hopes and expectations of what it might accomplish when I first envisioned it. Our mission to end hunger in our lifetime continues to develop and expand as our staff keeps looking for more ways to impact hunger around the world.

I cannot say enough about the dedication, commitment and professionalism of our board of directors, our staff and our wonderful volunteers. They care. And it shows in everything they do. They are passionate about ending hunger, and everyone of them is a true leader in helping change our world for the better.

Here is an excerpt from a staff update I received this morning:

Did you know?

Stop Hunger Now packaged 5,331,376 meals internationally in 2014.  Due to the hard work of Stop Hunger Now and volunteers, meals were packaged in 16 countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.
Stop Hunger Now’s international expansion efforts are a significant demonstration of our leadership and the evolution of our approach to impacting apathy and generating the will to end hunger.  Through the establishment of permanent international meal packaging operations, Stop Hunger Now has a distinctive ability to have a greater impact, harnessing the collective energies of populations around the world in the fight against hunger.  

This is what a global movement to end hunger in our lifetime looks like. Stop Hunger Now volunteers around the world are packaging meals and becoming engaged in the fight to end hunger. Our growth is a true demonstration that by working together we can erase the obscenity of hunger in our lifetime. Stop Hunger Now has truly grown into a powerful international force for good.

 

“Meals in Memory” of Mandela

Stop Hunger Now South Africa recently took part in Mandela Day celebrations in a most special fashion, packaging over 800,000 meals for the hungry. An article reprinted from the Stop Hunger Now Newsletter gives the details of this powerful tribute.

Southern Africa Volunteers Package 800,000 “Meals in Memory” on Mandela Day

Stop Hunger Now Southern Africa hosted “Meals in Memory,” a large-scale two-city volunteer meal packaging event to celebrate the ideals of Nelson Mandela on July 18, 2014. Volunteers across South Africa and the world celebrated by taking just 67 minutes out of their day to do a good deed for their community.  Meals in Memory saw local celebrities and more than 5,000 volunteers in Johannesburg and Cape Town package 848,681 meals in 67-minute shifts.  

Graça Machel, widow of the beloved icon who inspired this day of reaching out to those less fortunate, gave the opening address at the Sandton Convention Centre. She then joined enthusiastic volunteers to package 638,826 of the day’s total meals. 

“Wherever Madiba is today, you can be sure he is smiling,” said Machel. 

Among the thousands of volunteers who pitched in were Madiba’s great-grandson Luvuyo Mandela and South African rugby star Pierre Spies, as well as Gert-Johan Coetzee, Joelle Kayembe, Benny Masekwameng, Kerry McGregor, Zuraida Jardine, Louise Carver, Chad Saaiman, Jacques Terreblanche, Bonang Matheba, Tamerin Jardine, Tshepo Mogale and Kuli Roberts.

“At Sandton alone, we packaged double the meals we did at last year’s Mandela Day event, so I cannot begin to say how proud I am of everyone who participated,: said Says CEO Barry Mey, CEO fo Stop Hunger Now Southern Africa. “There is no doubt in my mind that Madiba would be proud of our efforts to destroy child hunger in South Africa in our lifetime.”

At Canal Walk Shopping Centre in Cape Town, 162,432 meals were packaged, with another 18,727 meals tallied at the East Rand Mall; 18,144 meals at Deutsche Bank; and another 15,552 packaged with General Motors . Stop Hunger Now Southern Africa, whose mission is to get nutritional meals to young children at Early Childhood Development Centres that receive no government funding, was thrilled with the results of the meal-packaging drive.

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Graca Machel gets amped to pack meals during her 67 minutes. 

Photo credit: Shaw Media