DELPHOS — An estimated 250 volunteers came out Sunday to Delphos St. John’s High School to help pack bags of food for the Rise Against Hunger program.
“A lot of my friends have done it before, and they made it sound like a really good time, and I like a good time,” said Cassidy Werts, a junior at Delphos St. John’s High School. “So I thought I’d try it out. Plus, it’s a great cause, and it’s time to end world hunger.”
This is the fourth year that Rise Against Hunger held an event in Delphos. The goal this year was to pack 35,000 bags of food.
Organizers were a little concerned as it got closer to the packing day, as they were short of their monetary goal of $11,689.92.
“It’s been an exciting ride because a couple of weeks ago, we were kind of wondering, but we kept saying, ‘Nope, this is God’s thing. We did what we needed to do, and it’s up to Him to get the funds in and get people in,’” said Ellen Ditto, an event organizer. “And that’s exactly what He did.”
Each packet provides the ingredients for six meals.
“They start out with a mineral packet and then dried vegetables. The mineral packet has got seven different minerals in it, and vitamins. Then we add the soy meal, and then we add the rice. The rice always goes on top,” Ditto said. “So when the packets are weighed, they’re supposed to weigh around 12 to 13 ounces.”
About 20% of the meal packets stay in the United States; the other 80% go elsewhere.
“Ours generally end up in Haiti,” Ditto said.
Thomas Russell, the community evengagement manager for Rise Against Hunger from the Indianapolis area, was in Delphos to help facilitate the effort and to drive the packages back to Indianapolis.
How he got involved in Rise Against Hunger is a story in itself.
“I have a son, and he didn’t come home one night,” Russell said. “We had our family locator track him to the Rise Against Hunger warehouse. He was volunteering through his school, and he comes home. He has a little wristband on, and it said ‘2030 is possible.’ I said what is that, and he he said that is us ending world hunger in my lifetime. I said I can get behind that.”
He applied for positions with the organization and was offered the position he now has because he was a “people person.”
“I can’t believe they pay me to do this. Honestly, I was doing it for a year and a half for free, just taking vacation time, sick time to pretty much shadow and see where it takes me,” Russell said. “Ultimately I think I’ve been in maybe seven different states and packaged 1.1 million meals last year.”
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.