Submitted by the Rotary Club of Bedford
The Rotary Club of Bedford held its Meals for Kids meal packaging event for the 5th year in a row on Saturday, April 8th at Middlesex Community College. Partnering with Rise Against Hunger, Bedford’s Rotarians, corporate sponsors, and local citizens raised over $19,000 enabling about 300 volunteers to package over 62,000 nutritious rice and soy-based meals.
Editor’s Note: Over the life of the program, Bedford Rotary has packed 320,000 meals, with thanks to the scores of volunteers who have funded the program and the hundreds of volunteers who have packed the meals. Click here to view a gallery of images from Saturday’s event.
In line with Rotary’s mission “to provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace,” the meals are served in schools, vocational training programs, medical clinics, maternal health facilities, child and youth development centers and elder care facilities in developing countries. School meals attract children to education programs and prevent dropouts–especially among girls–while simultaneously alleviating short-term hunger and enabling children to learn and to break the cycle of poverty.
Rotarians worked with Rise Against Hunger, an international hunger relief organization that provides the supplies, packaging equipment and on-the-ground logistics of shipping and distributing the food in the communities where it’s needed.
Rotary President Linda Cargiuolo was presented with an award acknowledging the club’s first 250,000 meals packaged. Said Linda, “We just love our 5-year partnership with Rise Against Hunger. We believe in the possibility of ending global hunger in our lifetime, and we love how this event brings our community together in a way that’s fun, educational and supports a great cause.”
BAE Systems and Anika Therapeutics were major corporate sponsors who also used the event to bring their employees together to support a good cause in a fun environment.
“We’re so excited to have partnered with the Bedford Rotary to support this event,” said Steven Cyr, Anika’s VP of Human Resources. “Participating helps us connect with the community and a higher purpose that energizes our employees. We love the happy energy of the event and how it brings us together outside of work in a fun, family-friendly activity.”
“Each year these Meals for Kids packaging events continue to grow and generate more excitement and participation among our employees and their families,” said Michael Carielli, BAE Systems Burlington Site Executive. “We are glad for the opportunity to participate in such a great team building activity outside the work environment and proud to sponsor such a good cause.”
In addition, the event received financial support from fundraising events sponsored by Ken’s NY Deli and Flatbread, as well as from Covanta and the Rotary Clubs of Bedford, Concord, Burlington Breakfast and a number of private individuals.
Teams of volunteer packagers signed up from BAE Systems, Anika Therapeutics, the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, Billerica Rotary Club, Burlington Interact Club, Burlington Rotary Club, Burlington Breakfast Rotary Club, First Parish in Bedford, Girl Scouts, National Council of Negro Women, and St. Michael’s Church. The event wouldn’t have been the success it was without their support!
Correction – April 15, 2016: The actual total number of meals packed after this year’s event was 320,000 not the 250,000 the headline originally stated according to the Rotary Club of Bedford