Rise Against Hunger

By Tracee Zyla

Saturday, May 12

On the morning of Saturday, May 12, Grace Cathedral teamed up again with Rise Against Hunger, an international hunger relief organization that distributes food and aid to the world’s most vulnerable. Volunteers came from near and far:  from a mother and her teenage son who drove up from San Jose, to others hailing from the East Bay, up north and around San Francisco, to some walking to the cathedral from their homes across the street. You have to see it to believe it: our group of about thirty volunteers packaged 10,000 dehydrated meals in just two hours.

Clifford, our energetic leader from Rise Against Hunger, set us up into teams of six people. He demonstrated how each of us on a team would assemble the meals at tables set up with supplies: one volunteer places a nutrition packet inside a clear labeled bag and then holds the unsealed opening under a funnel; the next volunteer pours in one cup of dry soy protein; the next adds one scoop of dehydrated veggies; the next pour in one cup of rice; the next weigh the bag for accuracy and the last volunteer seals the bag. Voila! Each complete, sealed meal feeds multiple people around the world where food is most needed. For example, Rise Against hunger distributes food to schools worldwide so that children are able to power their bellies and their brains, thus empowering their education.

Clifford kept our spirits lifted and played upbeat tunes on a large speaker while we worked together. To inspire morale, he’d select a volunteer to ring a shiny gong every time we completed one thousand sealed bags. (It’s the little things sometimes that really bind a group together.) The gong set the tone to keep us going. And, of course, the hats. Nothing speaks “fabulous” like wearing a bright red food safety cap. It’s simply the height of fashion. Wearing our mighty hats and chatting between gong ringings, our group reached our goal of 10,000 packaged meals just as Grace Cathedral’s carillon signalled noon. Success! Church bells rang as folks shared hugs and then departed, energized, to go forth into Saturday.

We look forward to hosting another meal packaging event in the future. To learn more about how to get involved, please visit our volunteer page.

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