End Hunger 3.6 returns Saturday for year three in Madison.

Hosted by the Rotary Club of Madison from 9 a.m to 3 p.m at Drew University’s Simon Forum, this annual event has packaged hundreds of thousands of meals for New Jersey’s hungry since its inception in 2016.

Last year this all-volunteer initiative sent about 123,000 meals to numerous feeding facilities and soup kitchens throughout Morris, Essex, Sussex, Warren and Hunterdon counties, including parts of Somerset County. 

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This year’s goal is even larger: 200,000. 

After receiving tens of thousands of dollars in donations from local businesses, nonprofits and fellow Rotary clubs, Madison Rotarians said they believe this goal will “come to fruition.”

About 800 volunteers—four times as many participants as the event’s first year—and members of more than two dozen Rotary clubs throughout the region are signed up to bag non-perishable eats this weekend for New Jersey’s hungry. Meals are vitamin enriched and GMO free.

“We have been told by some organizations that were it not for our contribution, they would not be able to feed their clients the next day,” the Madison Rotary Club said.

Madison Rotarian Ellsworth Havens said the idea to include “3.6” in the project name stemmed from a statistic he saw while surfing the web. According to UNICEF, someone in the world dies of malnutrition or starvation every 3.6 seconds. Thus, End Hunger 3.6 began to bud.

Past recipients include Market Street Mission in Morristown, St. John’s Kitchen of Newark, M.E.N.D of Essex County and the Salvation Army.

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