The Rotary Club of Madison held its kickoff for the 2017 End Hunger 3.6 Packaging Program on Thur. night, Nov. 3 at the Madison Area YMCA. Based on the resounding success of its first initiative this past March where 52,000 meals were packaged in under three hours at St. Vincent Martyr’s Gymnasium, next year’s goal is 150,000 meals.
The event is set to take place on Sat., March 18, 2017 at Drew University’s Baldwin Gym from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
What does the 3.6 represent? Every 3.6 seconds, someone in the world dies of malnutrition or starvation. In New Jersey alone, more than one million people living below the poverty line. One in five children is hungry and relies on food stamps for their meals. The number of people who go hungry and are in need of assistance grows daily, according to Jeannie Tsukamoto, president of the Rotary Club of Madison.
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 beans, pasta with tomato and basil, and oatmeal. All food is vitamin enriched and GMO free. These meals are distributed locally throughout NJ to agencies with feeding sites such as soup kitchens. Last year’s recipients included the Market Street Mission, Community Soup Kitchen and Table of Hope in Morristown; Faith Kitchen in Dover; St. John’s Soup Kitchen in Newark; and the NJ Salvation Army with feeding stations throughout the state. A supply of these packaged meals was also distributed to the Bowery Mission in New York City, through the participation of the Bowery Rotary Club.
The 52,000 meals packaged last year were valued at about $80,000. Madison Rotary managed to raise $15,000 including a $4,000 contribution from the Madison Rotary Foundation. To achieve the goal of 150,000 meals (at 30 cents per meal), the fund-raising goal, including financial and in-kind gifts, is $46,000. The more money raised, the more product can be purchased to achieve the goal of 15,000.
This year’s effort has been expanded to all Rotary clubs in the district for financial and volunteer support. A total of 600 volunteers will be needed on the day of the event, 250 for each two hour shift. All donations are gratefully accepted. Checks made out to the Madison Rotary Foundation, P. O. Box 211, Madison, NJ 07940 or by visiting: www.madisonrotarynj.org. For information, contact Chairperson Ellsworth Havens at firstname.lastname@example.org.