Posted by Terry Alexander - email
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - There's a new local effort to end hunger worldwide. The international relief organization "Stop Hunger Now" has opened up a location here in the Richmond area and the big kickoff is this weekend.
Saturday morning, dozens of volunteers will gather at the Virginia Holocaust Museum to create meal kits for people in need. Their goal is 50,000 kits each of which will feed six people.
"Liberia, Nigeria, Kenya, Vietnam, South Africa, Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua...these are some of the countries this food has gone out too," said Richmond Program Coordinator Dominic Alexander.
The non-profit "Stop Hunger Now" opened a Richmond warehouse in April. In November, we visited with a church in Chesterfield County which worked with another Virginia chapter of the organization to pack up tens of thousands of fortified rice-soy meals. The packets are high in protein and nutrients, and plain on purpose.
"When it goes into these cultures they can alter it appropriately, culturally sensitive, adding curry and I know in Haiti they had goat meat in gravy sauce," Dominic said.
The meal kits are sent mainly to school-feeding programs and might be the only food a child will get all day long.
"It entices them to come to school and by coming to school and getting an education, literacy rates go up, pregnancy rates go down, and a lot of other things fall into place," he said.
The Rotary Club of Mechanicsville is the lead on this weekend's effort, and participants say they are honored to be a part of this worthy cause. The food will be sent to a rehabilitation camp for child soldiers in Liberia.
"It's the sum being more than the parts if you know that expression. You take one club that comes up with an idea, then you get other clubs on board and suddenly and you suddenly have 45,000 packets together that are going to go around the world," said Kevin Smith, Mechanicsville Rotary Club President.
If you are interested in learning more about the organization stop hunger now you can call 381-6503. That's the number to the warehouse here in the Richmond area. They also have a website, stophungernow.org.