About three hundred volunteers gathered at St. James Episcopal Church on Saturday to package 50,000 meals to send to hungry families.
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - About three hundred volunteers gathered at St. James Episcopal Church on Saturday to package 50,000 meals to send to hungry families in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
“There are stories of mothers who will go into their yards and collect mud to make cookies to feed their children mud cookies just to stop the hunger pains,” said Jennifer Fueston, partnership manager for Rise Against Hunger. “We know that’s not nutritious and it really doesn’t help.”
Volunteers worked in two shifts in an assembly line fashion to pack the meals.
“For us, volunteering is a huge part of being a family so we look for opportunities where we can support the community, bond and teach lifelong learning lessons to our daughters, Hillary and Hilsyn,” said Hardy.
First, volunteers filled bags with protein-packed ingredients.
“Hilary is here putting in soy, Hilsyn’s adding vegetables and I’m adding the rice,” explained Pam Hardy, one of the volunteers at the event. “We put it here and then it’s taken over to the next table, weighed and secured so it can be packed.”
From there, the bags are taken to be boxed up.
“We have a map that helps us identify how many fit in a box,” said John Wnek, also volunteering with his family. “They get labeled and once the mat is full -- two on each location with an ingredients label -- we put them in the box and move on to the next.”
Each box is sealed and put aside to be shipped off. When they’re opened, it will be by a hungry family ready to make their meal.
The opportunity isn’t only helping those families overseas. It’s also giving the church community a chance to grow closer.
“It’s very heartwarming to know that I’m helping somebody, but I also feel like working with everyone here to bring together all the church communities in Wilmington has really brought me closer to the community and the other people here,” said Wnek.
Hardy recommends that everyone take the opportunity to volunteer when they can.
“You can do just one day, one hour or just one time of the month,” said Hardy. “It’s just so important. Find something that’s [your] passion and go for it.”
Those interested in getting involved with Rise Against Hunger can visit their website here.
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