Aliso Viejo, Calif. – Community members of all ages joined together to package meals for international hunger relief non-profit organization, Rise Against Hunger (riseagainsthunger.org) last Saturday at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Chapel in Aliso Viejo.
Nearly 600 volunteers turned out to set up, put together, and package more than 100,000 meals in three shifts, following weeks of earnest fundraising efforts for those meals. The Rise Against Hunger (formerly Stop Hunger Now) local chapter organized the event and was sponsored by the Laguna Niguel Stake (LDS Church) and local community members.
The Church identified the project via its JustServe platform (justserve.org), which matches faith, non-profit, community and governmental organizations that need volunteers willing to help.
Volunteers arrived for 1 ½ hour shifts and worked while enjoying festive music, getting to know fellow volunteers, and they were rewarded with a gong and applause for each set of 5,000 meals packaged.
“It was really fun to see so many children involved and doing what they can to support Rise Against Hunger,” remarked volunteer, David Dowling.
Two-shift volunteer, Candace Carteen, observed, “Watching how everyone worked like a machine to get this done and the two and three year-olds working so hard and learning a work ethic, was so exciting to watch!”
Nearly $34,000 was raised by the community for the nutritious meals that will be sent to school feeding programs in 65 countries around the world. Each meal cost 29 cents to develop, apart from volunteer labor to assemble and pack for shipment. The original goal was exceeded by more than $3,000 allowing for 10,000 additional meals.
This was the third annual food-packaging event for the Rise Against Hunger organization the Laguna Niguel congregations had sponsored.
“I wasn’t going to come, but I’m so glad I did because it was so cool and the energy was just electric,” exclaimed Annalee Austin, first-time volunteer.
Event organizer, Jenna Harline reflected, “Rise Against Hunger makes an event like this seamless. We made a big impact together. Tomorrow I hope each one of us will seek to make a small impact by serving the hungry, displaced and underprivileged in our communities. Many small acts of goodness can change the world.”