It was a crazy idea – as the saying goes, so crazy that it just might work! Two Kids Against Hunger staffers made the trek from Minnesota to North Carolina in December, enjoying what for them was relative picnic weather, to show us the meal packaging ropes. They brought with them a gift – the core processes for assembling meals from the four ingredients we have come to know so well. Rice, soy, vegetables, vitamins.
We gave the packaging effort a name – the FUNNEL Project (Food for Under Nourished in Need in Every Land). And on December 10, 2005, volunteers and the few staff gathered at the estimable Raleigh warehouse on Wellington Court for the premier Stop Hunger Now meal packaging event. Together we learned that the rice goes in last.
From that point forward, we were transformed – both as individuals and as an organization.
That first year, Stop Hunger Now staff and volunteers packaged 1.7 million meals, filling about six forty-foot shipping containers – numbers we found staggering. Of course, our nine year total is now more than ten times that. In fact, we are crossing the 175 million meal mark, meaning we could end up amassing over 45 million meals in 2014 alone.
Beyond the numbers, I’m thinking of the lives impacted by these meals – the lives of children and families, in schools and clinics and in post-disaster shelters, at times amid the wreckage of what was once home. The meals help them begin anew, to gain strength and stamina. The meals themselves are a sign of hope.
Those have been nine pretty amazing years. Are you ready for the tenth?