Volunteers pack thousands of meals to send to Haiti, Dominican Republic

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – About three hundred volunteers gathered at St. James’s Episcopal Church Saturday to pack 50,000 meals to send to starving families in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

“There are stories of mothers going out into their backyards and collecting mud to make cookies to feed their kids mud cookies just to stop the hunger pains,” said Jennifer Fueston, Partnerships Manager for Rise Against Hunger. “We know it’s not nutritious and it really doesn’t help.”

The volunteers worked in two line shifts to pack the meals.

“For us, volunteering is an important 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,” Hardy said.

First, volunteers filled bags with protein-rich ingredients.

“Hilary puts soy here, Hilsyn adds vegetables and I add rice,” said Pam Hardy, one of the volunteers at the event. “We put it here, then it’s transferred to the next table, weighed and secured so it can be wrapped.”

From there, the bags are taken to be packed.

“We have a map that helps us identify how many people fit in a box,” said John Wnek, also a volunteer with his family. “They are labeled and once the mat is full – two on each slot with an ingredient label – we put them in the box and move on to the next one.”

Each box is sealed and set aside for shipping. When they are opened, it will be by a hungry family ready to cook their meal.

The opportunity is not only to help these families abroad. It is also giving the ecclesial community a chance to come together.

“It’s so heartwarming to know that I’m helping someone, but I also feel like working with everyone here to bring all the church communities together in Wilmington has really brought me closer to the community and to others. people here,” Wnek said.

Hardy recommends that everyone take the opportunity to volunteer when they can.

“You can do a single day, an hour, or just once a month,” Hardy said. “It’s so important. Find something that is [your] passion and go for it.

Those interested in getting involved with Rise Against Hunger can visit their website here.

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