About 400 volunteers gathered in Middletown to assemble meal kits for people in need in developing countries

The gymnasium at St. Andrew’s School was alive with the hustle and bustle of about 400 volunteers who joined forces to pack 50,000 meals to “Rise Against Hunger” Saturday morning, March 9.

Thanks to the partnership between the MOT Rotary Club, Southern New Castle County Rotary and Our Daily Bread, they were able to rally community members to help needy populations in developing countries.

Exceeding last year’s totals, participants more than doubled the number of meals packed in less than two hours by using an assembly-line method.

Individual and corporate contributions helped to pay for the meals. Each package included rice, soy, dehydrated vegetable and a micronutrient sachet. Each meal costs about 39 cents.

Most of the 50,000 meals will be delivered to schools in developing countries and cooked at the schools for the students where hunger is an issue.

John Nanni, coordinator for Rise Against Hunger, said he was overwhelmed by the community turnout which included people from organizations in the Middletown-Odessa-Townsend area and included adults, young people, students, scouts, church members and senior citizens.

Two organizations with the largest number of volunteers included the Smyrna High School Air Force Junior ROTC and members of the St. Paul’s Methodist Church.

“We had 5 years olds...all the way to a 94 year old (who just happens to be a Rotarian for 68 years). I am so excited how our two Rotary clubs in Middletown partnered with Our Daily Bread and St. Andrew's School, raising almost $13,000 and providing 50,000-plus meals that will go to kids we will help but never meet,” said Nanni. “Life is good.”

Rise Against Hunger is an international organization with the goal of ending hunger worldwide. The organization was founded in 1998 by Ray Buchanan, a United Methodist minister. It was first called Stop Hunger Now and the name was changed in 2017 to Rise Against Hunger.

For more information, email Nanni at jntenor@yahoo.com or visit the national group’s website at riseagainsthunger.org.