Hundreds of volunteers gather to 'Stop Hunger Now'

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Volunteers from all over the state, and even a couple from overseas, gave up their Saturday morning to come to ASU's Christenberry Fieldhouse to scoop, pack and seal.

The ringing noise from the gong marked the sound of a 1,000 meals that were ready to be shipped off. As the packers cheered, they knew that now, a thousand little bellies would be full.

"We want them to be excited because today we're doing something that's changing the lives of people on the other side of the world," said Stop Hunger Now Atlanta Program Manager Kyle Galenski. "Today the 50,000 meals we package are enough meals to feed 180 kids for a year."

Kids that would normally have nothing to eat will now get a full, balanced meal thanks to nearly 400 volunteers.

"We have a five-man team and there will be a rice, a soy, a vegetable and a vitamin that's packaged, and then it goes to a sealing station, and then it's put into a box," said Stop Hunger Now Co-Chair Pam Lightsey.

Each bag will travel nearly 8,000 miles and end up in the hands of a hungry child in Zambia.

"There are one billion people in this world that do not have regular access to food. A majority of these people are in developing nations, so programs like this just help to put food where it needs to go," Galenski said.

A commander from Robins Air Force Base and his family even made the trip to help.

"It's been wonderful. We have a lot of volunteers here, which is great to see," said Commander Bill Waynick said as the gong was rung again. "We get to hear the gong go off quite a bit, which means a lot of people are going to get fed here pretty soon, so it's rewarding for us to be here sharing this opportunity."

Scooping, pouring, weighing and sealing for a few hours means that a children can eat for weeks.

"Every six seconds a child dies of hunger-related disease or hunger-related causes, so it's really important that we get meals to children," Lightsey said.

"This is the solution to end hunger right here," Galenski said.

With so much help, all the packing was done in about an hour and a half.

The volunteers made an impact locally, too. They brought canned food items that will be donated to the Golden Harvest Food Bank. The food will be used for the backpack program right here in our area.

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