‘Hope for the Hungry’ is a Big Rotary Success

Hope for the Hungry
A team of 160 volunteers who, over the course of two hours, worked in teams of 10 at Middlesex Community College’s Bedford campus to fill more than 6,700 six-serving fortified rice and bean meal packages. Courtesy photo

Submitted by the Rotary Club of Bedford

“We did it!” declared Debi Malone, team leader of “Hope for the Hungry,” the Rotary Clubs of Bedford and Concord’s 2024 joint meal-packing sponsorship. 

Aimed to address food insecurity and aligned with this year’s Rotary International “Create Hope in the World” theme, the six-month planning and preparation culminated on the last Saturday in April when volunteers packed 40,320 meals destined for local distribution in dozens of surrounding communities.

Varying quantities of packed meals were donated to food pantries in Bedford, Billerica, and Lexington, each of which serves as many as 200 or more weekly pantry recipients. 

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The Bedford and Lowell campus food pantries at Middlesex Community College, which serve as many as 350-to-400 struggling students and staff weekly, also received donated packaged meals. 

The majority of meal packages went to the Merrimack Valley Food Bank for distribution. MVFB serves 102 emergency feeding programs in 32 cities and towns, including Lowell, Lawrence, and Haverhill, and serves an average of 70,000 people monthly. 

This year’s team effort, rebranded as “Hope for the Hungry, was the Rotary Club of Bedford’s ninth annual meal packing. After a pandemic-forced hiatus, the event returned to Middlesex Community College’s Bedford campus this year for the first time since 2019. MCC’s host facilities and the time and support of administration and staff made “Hope for the Hungry” possible.

The primary project partner, “Meals of Hope,” a non-profit committed to combatting the food insecurity epidemic at the local level, was key to the effort’s success.

The heart of the team effort was the 160 volunteers who, over the course of two hours, worked in teams of 10 to fill more than 6,700 six-serving fortified rice and bean meal packages.

Volunteers from Bedford and many surrounding communities included parents, children, individual first-timers, and repeat volunteers from prior year meal-packings. 

Joining Bedford and Concord Rotarians were Rotary Club members from Billerica, Burlington, Chelmsford, Merrimack Valley, and Westborough. In total, more than three dozen Rotarians participated.

The Rotary Club of Bedford is a diverse group of friendly, fun loving, like-minded individuals dedicated to feeling good by doing good – providing service to our neighbors both locally and globally. 

Join the club in the upcoming Day of Service event, weeding the Native Pollination Preservation Garden on Saturday, May 18.

Learn more at: https://bedfordmarotary.org.

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