CLAYTON — An international hunger relief organization supported by Clayton residents is hoping to send even more meals across the world to do their part this year to help end hunger.
Efforts to support Stop Hunger Now are spearheaded locally by Tom Ricks, a member of the Clayton Mid-Day Rotary Club and of Horne Memorial Church, last year raised $54,250 and this year Ricks hopes and believes the town can raise more.
“It really could be much more than that,” said Ricks, who says he continues to be amazed by the support and contributions from the people of Clayton to Stop Hunger Now. His goal this year is to make it easy for people to give, at several different fundraisers.
The aim this year is to raise $82,280. The number is so specific because that’s the amount of money it takes to fill one shipping container full of meals, and to be able to ship it to Haiti.
That amount of money would provide 285,120 meals, and Ricks believes Clayton is up for the challenge.
Last year was the first year that Clayton residents bagged meals for a specific destination in conjunction with the Stop Hunger Now organization. The Ryan Epps Home for Children, an orphanage near Port-au-Prince started by Clayton residents became the beneficiary of the effort in Clayton. As part of the partnership, Stop Hunger Now gave a shipping container full of meals to the people working and living at the orphanage.
This year will be different though. Now, it’s up to the town residents, churches, schools, and clubs to come up with enough money for food and shipping to be able to send meals to the orphanage again. According to Ricks, one of the lessons learned from last year’s effort was understanding the hurdle of shipping, which costs $11,000 for a full shipping container.
Ricks said there’s no doubt the community can do it, but it will take everyone working together.
Ricks is full of ideas for how to raise the money.
One creative fundraiser people can take part in is “Host a Dinner Party in a Box.” Anyone who would like to host the dinner party just has to pay $25 and then they will be supplied with all of the ingredients necessary for five friends to partake in the meal and in a night of learning.
The party box includes place cards for each person that have photos of children from all over the world, with a narrative that describes their life. The cards are intended to promote discussion about the global hunger need. At the end of the dinner, hosts ask their friends to become involved with Stop Hunger Now, either through a one-time gift, or a monthly donation, or even by helping at a local food packaging event.
Another fundraiser that doesn’t require any planning because it’s being organized by Ricks, himself, is a bowling tournament. The tournament is scheduled for March 11, and will involve both Clayton Rotary Clubs, the Cleveland Rotary Club, as well at the Interact clubs at Clayton, Corinth Holders, and Cleveland High schools.
“An exciting additional event is the rubber ducks,” said Ricks.
There is still a lot of planning to do, but he hopes the Interact clubs will be responsible for a rubber duck race. To raise funds, people will be able to purchase a duck. The ducks are placed in a creek or a river, and the first duck to cross a predetermined finish line gets a prize.
Ricks said that it’s important to him to bring the community together for each of these fundraisers to make it a unified effort.