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March 14, 2017 > Partnering to end hunger worldwide by 2030

Partnering to end hunger worldwide by 2030

By Julie Huson

Rise Against Hunger doesnÕt just want to feed people today Ð it is targeting an end to worldwide hunger by the year 2030. Through its location in Hayward, four staff members direct one-time volunteers in the community to portion and pack 10,000 high protein meals in about two hours. When added to the groupÕs other national and international efforts, more than three million people had a reliable food source in 2016.

Jordan Marvin, Northern California Community Engagement Manager, says that Rise Against HungerÕs additional focus on establishing community sustainability of food resources is key to providing support to 37 countries worldwide which suffer severe food shortage.

Rise Against Hunger also works to promote improved agricultural methods in impoverished nations with training and access to quality seeds and fertilizers, so local farmers can increase production in a variety of nutritious crops. Further, the agency assists communities in establishing livestock and fish farms to help individuals increase earning potential and provide communities consistent access to food.

But it is the local efforts of thousands of volunteers mobilized by Rise Against HungerÕs small staff who make the most visible impact with Òsafety netÓ meals assembled and shipped worldwide to carefully vetted countries who will ensure the delivery of the food directly to the neediest individuals.

Addressing hunger is the agencyÕs key strategy to increasing education rates and providing a way out of poverty in developing countries. Rise Against Hunger meals are served in schools to encourage increased enrollment and attendance. Meals are also served in vocational training programs, medical clinics, youth centers, and elder care facilities.

ÒItÕs a pay to play model,Ó Marvin explains. What he means is that concerned volunteer groups donate or raise the cost of about $3,000 to assemble 10,000 meal packs consisting of rice, soy, vegetables, and nuts, then pack them in boxes to ship out to pre-determined populations of need. The vegetarian portions can be enriched with local ingredients such as meat and fresh vegetables, and adapt well to regional styles of flavoring and spices.

Marvin explains the process: a corporation, faith organization, service club or university group raises enough money to cover the cost of each 29-cent meal. Multiplied by 10,000, this nearly $3,000 donation is used by Rise Against Hunger to truck in enough supplies and packaging material to a location of choice for assembly by those same donors.

ÒWe bring everything,Ó Marvin says. The Rise Against Hunger staff organizes volunteers into teams which unload, pack, seal, box, and reload meals of six one-cup servings in about two hours. For groups unable to provide a suitable large indoor area for assembly of 10,000 or more meals, Rise Against Hunger can host an event at their Hayward facility. The boxes of packaged meals are then loaded onto shipping containers, which hold up to 285,000 boxes of nutritional meals, and delivered worldwide.

Founded in 1998 in Raleigh, North Carolina, Rise Against Hunger (formerly known as Stop Hunger Now) has provided more than 300 million meals since its inception. In 2016 alone, the organization engaged more than 350,000 volunteers in providing meals to nourish approximately 600,000 lives. The company operates out of 20 locations in the U.S. and has five international locations. Their local division began in 1998 at a facility in San Leandro and moved to Hayward in 2011. They relocated to the current facility in Hayward, located at Industrial and Hesperian, just last year.

Those wishing to sponsor a food packing event can contact Jordan Marvin to arrange logistics. The Hayward division also sponsors monthly volunteer events on the third Saturday of each month, but Marvin notes these drop-in events can vary, from tasks such as assembling water filters or performing other skill-based volunteering opportunities and are not generally food packing events.

While Rise Against Hunger focuses on direct food supply, Marvin stresses the important link to ending poverty and hunger on a local level as well. He wants to engage communities to Ònot ignore local hunger, but be aware globally, then focus locally.Ó The organization acknowledges that more than 700 million people in the world donÕt get the food they need to live a healthy life, and this need extends into local East Bay communities as well. Awareness of poverty and hunger is an important mission for Rise Against Hunger as it works towards a goal of contributing to healthy, educated communities as the key to ending world hunger.

The next volunteer opportunity is on Saturday, March 18; contact Jordan Marvin in advance if interested in helping. For more information, visit www.riseagainsthunger.org, call (415) 992-7778 or e-mail bayarea@riseagainsthunger.org.

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