Augusta volunteers pack food for Stop Hunger Now

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Every so often, a gong rang out across Augusta State University’s Christenberry Field­house on Saturday morning.

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Dalton Reed (left), 18, works with Trey McAvoy, 18, as they tie up bags of rice and  vegetables.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Dalton Reed (left), 18, works with Trey McAvoy, 18, as they tie up bags of rice and vegetables.

Each time, a loud cheer rose from more than 350 volunteers in celebration of another 1,000 meals packaged during Stop Hunger Now.

In one hour, volunteers from Rotary clubs, Augusta State University and the community packaged 47,538 meals that will be shipped to school children in Zambia.

“It’s organized chaos,” volunteer Sheri Loflin said.

Volunteers filled the second floor of the athletic center. Groups weighed and bagged food – rice, soy, dry vegetables and a vitamin – which were then sealed and boxed for shipping. Each bag contained six servings.

“What we’re finding is parents will send their children to school to get a hot meal and be educated, instead of working to make money to put food on the table,” event organizer Pam Lightsey said.

The meals packaged Sat­ur­day will be sent to a warehouse in Atlanta until they are ready to be shipped to Africa, Lightsey said.

This is the second time the event has been held in Augusta. The first was Sept. 11, 2010. That event raised enough money to package 80,000 meals.

The Augusta Rotary Club was recognized this year by Stop Hunger Now for packaging more than 100,000 meals between the two events, Lightsey said.

Kyle Galenski, the program manager for Stop Hunger Now, said the Atlanta program has packaged more than 1.8 million meals in Georgia since Jan. 1.

“The philosophy is that putting meals into schools gets kids to go to school and stay in school,” Galenski said. “So it’s not providing meals, we’re providing them with the opportunity to be educated.”

Local children were not left out. A concurrent food drive was held and a portion of the proceeds will go to Golden Harvest Food Bank’s backpack program.

About 245 Richmond County students will receive 3 pounds of food to take home over the weekends.

“There are kids that go home hungry on the weekends that are on the free lunch program. They have nothing to eat all weekend long,” said Shannon Jones, the Georgia Development Officer for Golden Harvest.

Loflin and Bre Musick brought their 10-year-old daughters to help.

“I wanted to introduce volunteerism to my daughter,” Musick said. “She had a better time than I expected.”

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tanbaby
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tanbaby 09/08/12 - 05:39 pm
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this is really a great thing,
Unpublished

this is really a great thing, but what about all the children here in the good old USA that don't have any food???? shouldn't we try to take care of our hungry children here first????

OpenCurtain
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OpenCurtain 09/08/12 - 06:45 pm
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Sounds like a sincere bunch

looking to help and are doing something to help. .

However, I do wonder if this is the best process. One that puts the most food on the table, considering the shipping, storage and distribution expenses involved.

itsanotherday1
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itsanotherday1 09/08/12 - 10:05 pm
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I would rather the investment

I would rather the investment be in teaching them to fish(feed themselves). Otherwise, every child growing up will just have more children that can't be fed and the cycle continues. Harsh I know, but it is the simple truth.

I know one of Warren Buffet's sons is a farmer and has put a ton of time and resources into improving agriculture and crop yields in 3rd world countries. That is where the solution lies.

fedex227
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fedex227 09/08/12 - 10:54 pm
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Are the above comments coming from Augusta residents?
Unpublished

Seriously? If so, I'm ashamed to say I live here. You're willing to sacrifice the lives of children, no matter where the heck they live, just to make a point? Blessings on the Stop Hunger Now group for carrying out the work of .... oh I don't know, Jesus Christ maybe? And shame on those that criticize it.

CobaltGeorge
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CobaltGeorge 09/09/12 - 03:05 am
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Enlighten My Mind

About 245 Richmond County students will receive 3 pounds of food to take home over the weekends.

“There are kids that go home hungry on the weekends that are on the free lunch program. They have nothing to eat all weekend long,” said Shannon Jones, the Georgia Development Officer for Golden Harvest.

What you are saying is, there are children that live under 13th Street Bridge all weekend without a home to go to that doesn't receive EBT support.
or
Is the food bought by EBT cards for Adults only and not for children.

Please, Enlighten me so I can sleep better!

InChristLove
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InChristLove 09/09/12 - 07:46 am
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fedex, either you read the

fedex, either you read the first two comment wrong or I did because I don't see where these two commentor insinuated that they were against this program. I believe they indicated that it was a good cause but that a different approach might be more beneficial. I agree that this is a wonderful example of Jesus's love and His command that we help one another but I do believe that a part of that responsiblity is to train or teach others to take care of themselves so that they are not totally dependant on others for the rest of their lives. I believe their comments concerning this was more to the adults in our own area than those in Africa.

Would it not also be wise to have some sort of contact with the parent or parents of these children to teach them some skills to provide for their family? As for the 245 children here in our area....I'm like CG, if these children parents receive EBT or government assistance, why is there no food in the house on the weekend? I don't understand, if the parents are working then the mother needs to prepare simple meals for the kids to heat up in the microware (I'm assuming they are old enough to stay home, they are old enough to work a microwave). If they don't have a microwave, cereal, fruit, peanut butter and bread, fills the belly just as well.

fedex227
11179
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fedex227 09/09/12 - 07:14 pm
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With all due respect InChrist ...
Unpublished

I believe you may have misread the comments. The first criticized the cost of storing and shipping the food to Zambia. The second criticized the program because it does not promote the 'teach a man to fish' principle in third world countries (the solution for Zambia is the Buffet method I guess). Those were the only two comments posted at the time- nothing about adults in our area.

It just seems to me that being critical of such a selfless act of charity designed to do just what the negative comments suggest seemed a little backwards. The whole idea of the program, of sending the food to Africa, is to keep the children in school, educate them, not having to make them go out and work, all for the betterment of their society. In other words, teaching them how to fish ... and how to read, and how to become electricians, chemical engineers, doctors, and even more productive farmers.

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