Black Belt Community Service by Brendan Leibert
On Friday, May 17, my mom, sister, younger brother and I participated in the Stop Hunger Now meal packaging event at the Cary Family YMCA. We saw another Tiger Rock family there (Andrew Dunn).
Stop Hunger Now is a Raleigh-based charity that creates food packages that are delivered to poverty-stricken people around the world. The meal packages support school-based feeding programs and are used in crisis relief, such as after earthquakes or floods. Each 390 g meal packet consists of a mixture of rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables, and a flavoring mix that includes seasonings as well as 21 essential vitamins and minerals.
The organizer said that each package can feed a child for 6 days! Each meal costs only 25 cents. The food stores easily, has a shelf-life of two years and transports quickly. Stop Hunger Now works with international partners like Catholic Relief Services that ship anddistribute the meals around the world.
The packaging organization can be set up anywhere that there are enough volunteers (25 is the minimum). The YMCA had 150 people of all ages helping with this event. I wasn’t sure what to expect. There was a long line of people to sign in, and then once we were in, we got gloves and hairnets. When we walked into the gym, we saw an amazing sight: 150 people, boxes and boxes of food, empty boxes, balances, and other equipment.
On one side of the gym, there were tables with boxes of soy, rice, dehydrated vegetables and vitamin & seasoning packets. Each table had a large funnel in the middle. People scooped certain amounts of each ingredient into the funnel, where the food slid into the bag. Each bag was then placed in a bin. When a bin had 5 bags in it, a runner carried it to a different table to be weighed and sealed.
Everyone got assigned to a station. At first I was assigned to a weighing and sealing station with my mom. My brother and sister were runners. After a while, my sealer began to malfunction, so I had to give up my station to an adult. I decided to become a runner, too. I took filled bags from the filling stations to the weighing & sealing stations. I made especially sure that my mom’s team never ran out of bags. Together we packaged 20,000 meals!
Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.