Based on the resounding success of the End Hunger 3.6 packaging project last March, the Rotary Club of Madison and the Madison Rotary Foundation have announced that the event will return this year on Saturday, March 10 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m at the The Forum at Drew University.

This year’s goal is 250,000 meals. Rotary members said they hope to surpass last year’s total of more than 120,000.

What does 3.6 represent? Every 3.6 seconds someone in the world dies of malnutrition or starvation, according to UNICEF. In Rotary District 7470, which encompasses five counties in north central New Jersey, it is estimated that over 200,000 men, women and children are food insecure. At least 1 million state residents are living below the poverty line. 

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The End Hunger 3.6 project is a community event where volunteers package and distribute non-perishable, ready-to-cook meals such as macaroni and cheese, rice and vegetables, pasta with tomato basil sauce and oatmeal.

All food is vitamin enriched and GMO free. Meals are then distributed to soup kitchens and feeding stations throughout Rotary District 7470 as this is a district-wide project. 

Food insecurity experienced at any time across the lifespan has an adverse impact on health. A growing body of evidence suggests that the detrimental impact of food insecurity on health has important consequences for U.S. health care expenditures. These costs are borne substantially by Medicare and Medicaid. Over the long term, prevention of food insecurity is likely to be more cost-effective than treating the consequences of this crisis.

For example:  
Children:
In addition to decreased intellectual and emotional development and poor academic performance, children living in food insecure households are at a higher risk of poor physical and mental health.  
Pregnant women: Infants born to food insecure mothers are smaller, sicker and have an increased risk of birth defects.  
Adults: Seniors who are food insecure have a decreased capacity to maintain independence with aging.

Here's a look at last year's recipients:

Morris County

  • The Community Soup Kitchen
  • Table of Hope
  • Market Street Mission
  • Faith Kitchen in Dover

Essex County

  • St. John’s Soup Kitchen
  • M.E.N.D. (interfaith Meeting Emergency Needs with Dignity)
  • Salvation Army’s numerous feeding facilities, including a mobile van

Hunterdon, Sussex, and Warren counties were served by NORWESCAP’s feeding facilities; and Somerset County was served by God’s Co-Op Pantry in Bernardsville.

In order to purchase ingredients for packaging, donations and grants are required. Donations of $500 or more will be acknowledged in Rotary’s publicity materials. Madison Rotary Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization. Contributions are tax deductible and can be made online or by mail to Madison Rotary Foundation, P.O. Box 211, Madison, NJ 07940. 

Volunteers groups and individuals are needed for the day of the event. Please register by March 5 on Madison Rotary website: www.madisonrotarynj.org 

For further information, contact project chair Ellsworth Havens at ellsworthhavens@icloud.com.