Rotary Clubs spearhead hunger effort

Although there is enough food in the world to feed each person 4.3 pounds of food daily, more than 25,000 people die every day because ofhunger-related causes.

More people die from hunger-related problems than from AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined, according to statistics from Stop Hunger Now, an organization committed to stamping out hunger in the world.

Members of area Rotary Clubs will spearhead an Augusta effort to join with Stop Hunger Now to package 100,000 meals from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Sept. 8 at the Augusta State University Christenberry Field House.

“This is an opportunity for the community to come together,” said Ricardo Bravo, past president of the Martinez-Evans Rotary Club, one of the clubs participating in the event.

Area clubs first worked with Stop Hunger Now in September 2010. The initial goal was to package 40,000 meals; however, club members raised enough money to package twice that amount. The community showed its support with more than 700 people turning out to volunteer, according to Pam Lightsey, assistant governor for Rotary District 6920.

“Everything worked together so well last time,” she said.

On the morning of the event, there will be packing areas set up throughout the field house.

Volunteers will take the ingredients of rice, soy, beans, dehydrated vegetables and a vitamin packet and put them together into a pre-packaged meal. They will be boxed and shipped back to Stop Hunger Now, which will ship the meals. The meals are distributed to schools in more than 70 nations.

“It’s all fed to children. What they see in other countries is an increase in children going to school to get a hot meal,” she said.

Not only do they receive food, but they also receive an education, she said.

Lightsey said they are currently raising money and recruiting volunteers for the Sept. 8 event. Not only will money go toward the meals project abroad, but they want to do something to help hungry kids locally as well.

“Locally, there is a backpack program,” said Lightsey.

This program through the Golden Harvest Food Bank provides food for a child over the weekend when the child is not receiving meals at school. In 2010, Rotary collected funds for the program to benefit children at Glenn Hills Elementary School.

On the day of the event, Lightsey said they will be collecting non-perishable food items for the Golden Harvest Food Bank.


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