West Side Volunteers Pack 10,000 Meals in Two Hours

RIDGEWOOD – Assemble and pack 10,000 meals in two hours?!

That is what 75 members and friends of West Side Presbyterian Church were able to accomplish for Rise Against Hunger, a growing global movement to end hunger by empowering communities, nourishing lives and responding to emergencies.

“Volunteers ranged in age from 3 to 81 years old,” said Rev. Penny Hogan, associate pastor. “It was an opportunity to serve with people you knew and people you haven’t met before. It was perfect for singles, families and couples. And it was an opportunity for everyone to serve side by side because every job was important to the success of the event.”

Rev. Hogan added, “The room was so energized; it filled my heart! The representatives from Rise Against Hunger brought music, speakers and a huge gong. Every time we filled a box with 250 meals, they would ring the gong and everyone would cheer. It was a lot of fun!”

The packets of food contain enriched rice, protein powder, dehydrated vegetables and a vitamin supplement that provides 100 percent of recommended daily nutrients. In 2021, 17 million meals were packaged and distributed around the world.

“Rise Against Hunger will be letting us know where our meals will be delivered. They will also be educating us on why the meals were sent to certain destinations. While we don’t see the faces, we get to feel the impact of our efforts beyond the initial event,” said Rev. Christine Park, pastoral associate for children and families.

One participant concluded, “I was so inspired, and it gave me the opportunity to show my children how their individual acts effect change on a global level.” The event attracted volunteers from more than a dozen towns, including Allendale, Franklin lakes, Glen Rock, Hawthorne, Midland Park, Old Tappan, Ridgewood, Rochelle Park and Waldwick.

Rise Against Hunger, an international humanitarian organization, has locations across the United States and five international offices. The organization provides immediate nourishment for those facing hunger today and implements sustainable solutions that will lift entire communities for years to come. Rise Against Hunger has facilitated volunteer meal packaging of more than 540 million meals to be distributed to countries around the world. Vist www.riseagainsthunger.org for more information.

Founded in 1912, West Side Presbyterian Church is a welcoming, inclusive church where people of all ages grow in faith, form lasting friendships and help our neighbors in need. West Side is located at 6 South Monroe Street in Ridgewood, NJ. For more information, please visit www.westside.org.

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