Volunteers pack 102,000 meals for hungry
By Woody Woodrick
More than 400 volunteers packaged food products in
“They saved lives,” said Mike Ward, who helped organize the Project Sharehouse events held March 29-31 at four sites.
“It was remarkable,” said Ward, who serves on the board of directors of Stop Hunger Now, which administers Project Sharehouse. “The turnout in every instance was better than we expected. We had more volunteers than we expected.”
The volunteers packaged 102,000 meals that will be shipped to
At each packaging site, some of the food was prepared so volunteers could have a taste. While most agreed it won’t soon make the menu of a gourmet restaurant, the food was tasty.
The largest turnout was at the
“One of the (highlights) was the diversity of people who came out,” said Ward, spouse of
USM student Tabitha Williams of
“I wanted to help somebody 1,000 miles away get their basic needs,” she said.
Williams admitted the activity was different from what she expected. “I though we would be putting canned goods into a box,” said the 21-year-old senior. “This was hands-on putting the food into packages. It was much better than putting cans in a box.”
Working in five-person teams, volunteers poured the ingredients through a funnel into plastic bags. The bags were then weighed, heat sealed and packed into boxes.
The food was shipped to a warehouse in
Heather Sanchez of Laurel, a USM graduate student in anthropology, said the event was “right up her alley” since she’s interested in developing sustainable agricultural systems in emerging countries.
“I think you learn about yourself when you get involved in service activities,” Sanchez said. “I learned there are other people with those goals; you’re not alone. It gives you a little bit of hope when you see this kind of turnout.”
Brooks said the food won’t stay in
Stop Hunger Now tries to work with small, hunger-fighting organizations in the nations where the food will be shipped, he said. Those groups then distribute the food. Most often the food is provided to schools and orphanages or other situations where the donation is not intended to be long term. The food is also provided in emergency situations such as natural disasters.
In addition to taking part, volunteers were asked to contribute 25 cents per meal to help cover the cost of the ingredients. Ward said final financial figures were not available yet on the goal of raising $25,000. The 102,000 meals exceeded the goal of 100,000 meals.