Meals for Haiti earthquake victims

Saturday, March 27, 2010

For so long, people had seen the images of the suffering in Haiti but felt helpless knowing they were too far away to offer a helping hand. But then a group called "Stop Hunger Now" came to Philadelphia. The international relief organization based in Raleigh, North Carolina came to Philadelphia asking for volunteers to put together 200,000 meals to feed children in schools in Haiti.

Saturday morning thousands from all across the region and east coast turned out to help.

"We've got folks as far as Delaware County and Lehigh Valley, Bucks County, Philadelphia residents, we've got college students, we've got children," said Shelton Mercer of Stop Hunger Now, Philadelphia.

With a little bit of this and a little bit of that they were putting together meals that consist of rice, soy dehydrated vegetables and a vitamin fortified flavoring mix. Essentially it's a meal that tastes like chicken rice that can be easily prepared with hot water.

"The meals that are being made here are going to be shipped from this warehouse directly to Haiti," explained Rod Brooks, CEO, Stop Hunger Now.

Often time's people complain that they want their money to go to the needy and not to overhead to run some organization. The wonderful thing about this group is that they cut out a lot of the overhead by using volunteers and the work is so easy that someone from age four to ninety four could do the work.

And with a warehouse space in Sherman Mills that was donated and the work being done by thousands of volunteers that means the costs of sending food to Haiti is just 25-cents per meal!

"Twenty-five cents per meal means that providing a nutritious hot meal that will not only feed kids that are in school, but be an incentive for other kids to get into school, so as a result when we start a school feeding program, we typically see school enrollment double or triple."

The effort gave many people there a sense of empowerment.

"I think this is a great opportunity for those of us who would love to help in the foreign countries with all the devastation but don't maybe have the finances or the time to be overseas helping out, but this is a great way locally to do it," said Heather Goodsell of Wilmington, Delaware.

"It makes you feel real good inside that you're out on a Saturday morning, you could be sleeping in, but you're devoting your time and your effort to helping someone," said Victor Williams of Washington D.C.

Organizers say by next week the meals will be in a ship headed for school children in Haiti.

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philadelphia, pennsylvania, haitian earthquake, earthquake, haiti, local/state, dann cuellar
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