The statistics on world hunger are staggering. The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization recently estimated that from 2014-2016, about 795 million people of the 73 billion people in the world, or one in nine, suffer from chronic undernourishment. Recently at St. Mary’s High School cafeteria, a group of about 70 dedicated volunteers ranging in age from teenagers to a few octogenarians, combined forces to do their part to alleviate hunger in the world.
Stop Hunger Now is a meal-packaging event where volunteers set-up and take down packaging stations and equipment, fill bins with raw ingredients, scoop ingredients into meal bags, weigh and seal the bags, box and stack them on pallets and load the pallets and equipment onto a truck for distribution in developing countries.
“The tremendous satisfaction one receives from participating in this event is indescribable,” remarked Lynn Rotary Club President Ray Bastarache, whose club, for the second year in a row, organized the event. “This event provides valuable experiences in team building, relationship building, problem solving and goal setting. We (Lynn Rotary) could never do this without the tremendous help we receive, both financially and with volunteers, from our brothers and sisters in the other service clubs like the Wyoma, Lynn and Shoe City Lions, members of the St. Pius’ St. Vincent de Paul Society as well as the Saugus Rotary. I would surely be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the tremendous support we get from St.Mary’s campus ministry students. Today we had over 40 student volunteers.”
The goal this year was to pack and ship 10,125 small meal packets. Each package consisting rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and a packet containing 23 essential; vitamins and minerals. The meals are shipped throughout the world to support school feeding programs, orphanages and crises relief. The food is stored easily, transported quickly and has a shelf-lifer of two years.
“I recall hearing last year that in 2010, many meals were sent to Haiti after the devastating earthquake and the next year to Japan after the Tsunami,” said Bastarache. “A year ago we were told that the meals were, in all likelyhood, going to Nepal after the earthquake that country experienced. While we don’t know where today’s meals are heading, what we do know is that in some developing country around the world, many needy families will have a nutritional meal.”