Rotary, Rise Against Hunger feed millions
Since it started packaging meals for hungry kids and others worldwide, the nonprofit Rise Against Hunger (formerly known as Stop Hunger Now) has packaged more than 300 million meals distributed in more than 40 countries. Volunteer efforts by Rotarians have played a huge part in the Raleigh, N.C., group’s success.
“That first full year  we had a goal of packaging 1 million meals and ended up with 1.7 million, ” explains the group’s CEO, Rod Brooks, a member of the Rotary Club of Cary, N.C. “In 2015, we packaged 60 million meals in 20 U.S. cities, and we’ve established meal packaging headquarters in six other nations. ”
Each bagged meal contains rice, soy, and vegetables, fortified with 23 vitamins and minerals. One and a half liters of boiling water is needed for preparation, and the pack serves six people.
Though Rise Against Hunger partners with many groups, Rotarians really got things rolling for the organization in 2006, when then-District (7710) Governor Tim Mannix committed to packaging a million meals in a Rotary year. Rotarians in his district ended up assembling 1.4 million meals. Since then, U.S. Rotarians have packaged more than 25 million meals.
Rise Against Hunger works with so many Rotarians around the world that past District Governor Chris Jones is on staff full time to coordinate volunteer efforts with clubs. A page on the group’s website is devoted to the Rotary partnership.
Rise Against Hunger is expanding its work globally in the area of sustainable development (hence the name change). These programs welcome Rotary participation and include efforts such as providing grants and technical expertise to Guatemala farmers who now raise tilapia. “Their success increased available protein in the local school feeding program, the farmers increased their income, plus we worked with local experts to design the farms to utilize natural springs, ” says Brooks. One of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals is to end hunger by 2030. “I believe we can do that given the trajectory we’re on, ” he adds, “but we have to keep it as a priority and be engaged, and that’s what we do through Rise Against Hunger. ”
– Anne Stein
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