Stopping Hunger One Package At A Time

Posted: May 25, 2013

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Thomas Harrison Middle School fifth-grader Grace Miller, Skyline Middle School substitute teacher Cyndi Everard, Skyline eighth-grader Anthony Everard and Skyline fifth-graders Lily Harmison and Madison Powers fill rice and soy meals during a Stop Hunger Now event at Skyline on Friday. (Photos by Jason Lenhart)
Stop Hunger Now, an international relief agency with roots in Virginia, packages meals to be sent to where they’re needed around the world. Ramen instant noodles, a fortified rice-soy meal with a small seasoning packet that requires just water and a pot to cook it in, are among the staples.
HARRISONBURG — If her children get hunger pangs, Harrisonburg resident Cyndi Everard said if they are at home they know that the food pantry is nearby and if they are at school they have a wealth of great lunch options.
“[My kids say,] ‘I’ve known hunger, but I’ve never known true hunger,’” said Everard, a substitute teacher at Skyline Middle School. That’s why she was happy Friday that her family had the chance to partake in a food packaging program that serves people in other countries.
“It’s really good for the kids to see what other kids live on,” she said.
Students and other volunteers — most involved with different levels of the Kiwanis International — gathered at Skyline Middle School Friday afternoon to package soy, rice and dehydrated vegetables for Stop Hunger Now, an international hunger relief organization.
The organization’s meal packaging program invites volunteer groups to purchase meal packets, assemble them and then give them back to be shipped to 65 countries worldwide.
About 60 volunteers packaged 10,000 meals at Skyline.
The project was paid for with $2,500 that was raised by participants. In addition to the local Kiwanis branches — the Harrisonburg Kiwanis Club, Circle K International at James Madison University, and the Builders Clubs at Thomas Harrison and Skyline middle schools — members of the Harrisonburg Baptist Church and other community members also volunteered.
Jessica Bacola, an English teacher at Skyline and the school’s Builders Club adviser, said students typically do programs that benefit the local community, so it was good for them to branch out.
“We thought it was a good outreach to different countries,” she said.
Isaiah King, 13, president of the Skyline Builders Club, took part in another meal packaging event for Stop Hunger Now and was happy to partake again.
“I thought it was amazing how quickly the food is made and that each bag can feed six people,” he said.
Contact Emily Sharrer at 574-6286 or

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