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Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service in Atlanta with Stop Hunger Now

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On January 20th, 80 FedEx employees gathered in a warehouse in South Atlanta to package 20,088 meals through Stop Hunger Now, a global humanitarian aid organization aimed at ending hunger worldwide. In just two short hours these employees filled, weighed, sealed, and boxed thousands of bags containing a nutrient-rich mixture of rice, soy, and vegetables.

For those who have never experienced a meal packaging event with Stop Hunger Now, it might come as a shock to hear that it is even possible to put together so many meals in so short a time. Stop Hunger Now, though, has perfected the process over the last eight years and each stage works together as if everyone were part of one large machine. The packaging begins at funneling stations where individuals place the dehydrated ingredients (including fortified white rice, soy, vegetables, and a vitamin packet) into bags that contain six servings each. The filled bags are then weighed and sealed before being transferred to a boxing station. Each 1,000 meals boxed is celebrated with a loud bang of gong, followed by much yelling and clapping. Even in a large warehouse this revelry could be heard all around.

And each 1,000 meals packaged should be joyfully celebrated as the food will directly impact those who need it the most. Although global hunger and undernutrition are slowly improving, the problem persists in many poverty-stricken and developing nations. Almost 870 million people – one out of every eight individuals on this earth – suffer from chronic hunger. Children account for almost a quarter of that large number and lack of nutrition contributes to the death of over 2.6 million children under the age of five every year.

The meals packaged on Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be sent to Mission of Hope (MOH) in Haiti the last week of January. MOH offers a variety of programs, including schooling, medical care, orphan care, disaster relief, earthquake relief, cholera relief, nutrition, home construction and Haiti One, an alliance of non-profit partners working together to bring change to Haiti. MOH currently serves more than 50,000 meals per day to children in schools and orphanages across Haiti.

This program is one of many organizations supported by Stop Hunger Now and represents clearly how the organization targets their aid in order to solve the problem of hunger by addressing the larger issue of poverty. This means that the majority of the meals are sent abroad to support transformational development programs, including those in schools, early childhood developmental programs, medical clinics, and orphanages. Like those served by MOH, sending meals to these types of programs helps ensure that children are fed at least one well-balanced meal a day while also removing them from dangerous situations they might otherwise face.

Working with Stop Hunger Now bridges the local to the global and allows volunteers to directly impact the lives of those who they will never see. Children in Haiti will be fed because of this one FedEx event – and that is certainly something to celebrate.

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