Editor's Note: The following article was submitted to McLean Patch by Alan Greilsamer with Stop Hunger Now.
In three shifts over an eight-hour period on Saturday, November 10, 2012, more than 900 enthusiastic volunteers from Northern Virginia packaged 250,000 meals to help eradicate hunger worldwide.
The event, which took place at Luther Church of the Redeemer in McLean, benefitted Stop Hunger Now, an international hunger relief organization that coordinates the distribution of food and other life-saving aid to countries around the world.
“Today’s event is the largest one that Stop Hunger Now has completed this year in the Washington, D.C. area,” said McLean Rotarian Dominic Alexander, the program manager for Stop Hunger Now-National Capital area. “It is amazing to me how the entire community comes together for this event – so many different organizations and so many different religions are represented here today.”
The volunteers included members of the Rotary Clubs of Dunn Loring-Merrifield, McLean and Tysons Corner in addition to students, parents and administrators from McLean, Langley and Marshall high schools as well as Longfellow Middle School and Kent Gardens Elementary School.
Additionally, the following congregations participated: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Lewinsville Presbyterian Church, McLean Islamic Center, Hoa Nghiem Buddhist Temple, St. John’s Episcopal Church, St. Luke’s Catholic Church, Temple Rodef Shalom and Trinity Methodist Church. Also in attendance were Girl Scouts from the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital and Boy Scouts from National Capital Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America as well as veterans from American Legion Post 270 and seniors from Vinson Hall Retirement Community.
The event raised more than $62,500—or 25 cents a meal—from individuals, organizations and corporations to help eradicate hunger. Corporate sponsors include Boone & Sons Jewelers, Chain Bridge Bank, Deloitte, Minuteman Press, Virginia Commerce Bank, Wheat’s Landscape and Rotary Clubs of Dunn Loring-Merrifield, McLean and Tysons Corner as well as Applied Predictive Technologies, Baltimore Website Design and Fundyng.com.
The meals are comprised of long-grain rice, a soy protein mixture, a vitamin packet and dehydrated vegetables. The ingredients are measured and poured into bags. Stop Hunger Now sends 90 percent of the meals to schools in impoverished regions and the remaining 10 percent going to disaster relief areas. The 250,000 meals assembled in McLean on November 10, 2012 are scheduled for delivery to Haiti, which was ravaged by an earthquake in January 2010.
Longtime McLean resident Bob Hahne learned about the Stop Hunger Now meal-packaging event while attending the Rotary District 7610 Conference in April 2010. Shortly thereafter, he and his wife, Barb, committed to packaging 1,000,000 meals.
The November 10, 2012 event was the fourth installment of the community meal-packing event over the past two years. To date, more than 700,000 meals have been assembled since November 2010.
In November 2010, the Rotary Club of McLean, along with McLean and Langley high schools and Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, as well as several McLean area service organizations and companies recruited more than 500 volunteers to assemble 100,000 meals. A similar event took place in June 2011 in which more than 600 volunteers packaged 150,000 meals, and in November 2011, 800 volunteers packaged 200,000 meals.
At the November 10, 2012 event, Virginia Del. Barbara Comstock (34th District) presented Bob Hahne with a proclamation honoring his late wife’s commitment to help in the fight to end world hunger. Other dignitaries who participated in the Stop Hunger Now event were Dranesville Supervisor John Foust, Fairfax County Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Marty K. Smith and Rotary District 7610 Immediate Past District Governor Jon Allan.
Bob Hahne said, “I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the McLean community and the surrounding areas…the schools, the Girls Scouts and Boy Scouts, the Rotary clubs, the faith-based organizations and even the corporate community.”
“After seeing the continued enthusiasm for this event with us being able to package 250,000 meals today, I truly think that we will be able to reach 300,000 meals with our next Stop Hunger Now event,” he added. “I know that the Northern Virginia community will help us reach our goal of 1,000,00 meals.”
Hahne expects the fifth Stop Hunger Now event to be held in November 2013. An exact date has not been scheduled.