CLARK, NJ - Each and every day, over 815 million people go hungry somewhere around the world. According to the United Nations, this means that 1 in 10 individuals suffer from chronic hunger. One small local church is working to reduce that number. For the fourth year in a row, Osceola Presbyterian Church has worked with Rise Against Hunger, a not for profit non-government organization, to package meals for people around the world. Working with a congregation of less than 100 members, Osceola spends about 10 months a year raising funds to cover the cost of the meals. 

Bright and early on Sunday, October 6, the panel truck from Rise Against Hunger pulled into the church driveway. About half a dozen members and friends of the church began the unloading of hundreds of pounds of rice, dehydrated vegetable protein, vitamins, seasonings, boxes, scales and sealers. Within the hour the stage was set for the production to begin. 

At 11:00 a.m. the congregation descended upon the makeshift “factory floor” to assemble the meals. Set in five stations, the production went from pouring the contents through a funnel into plastic bags, to a weigh station, a sealing station, and finally a labeling and boxing station. 

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Within two hours of the start, they had packaged over 10,000 meals. “When I start this process in January, I am always concerned that we will pull it off,” said Samantha Dodson, chairperson for the event. “Yet somehow it always comes together.” A gong is used to signal each time 1,000 meals are completed. Samantha struck the gong several times to signal the end of the process after packaging over 10,100 meals.

Once the meals were packaged the crew refilled the truck with the meals. Rise Against Hunger coordinator, Steve Reiss, thanked the church enthusiastically for their generosity and time. The meals help feed people in underprivileged nations around the world, and disaster stricken locations everywhere.