Volunteers to help Stop Hunger Now

sgilman@newsobserver.comApril 7, 2014 

From left, the Vaughns – Tammy, Greyson, Kathryn and Brian – dine at Zaxby’s to support a fundraiser for Stop Hunger Now.

SAMANTHA GILMAN — sgilman@newsobserver.com

If everything goes according to plan, volunteers on Saturday will package 60,000 meals for hungry people around the world.

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Everett Chapel Free Will Baptist Church will stage a meal-packing event for Stop Hunger Now, an organization that delivers prepackaged meals to countries from Afghanistan to Zambia.

In 2012, Stop Hunger Now delivered 24,993,331 meals to the hungry. Each meal includes six servings of a vitamin-rich mixture that includes rice, soy flour and dried vegetables.

Local organizer Tom Ricks said that in 2012, area churches came together on eight separate occasions to package 217,000 meals. The church he attends, Horne Memorial Church, contributed enough for 64,000 meals.

Ricks is putting together Saturday’s event at Everett Chapel. Two years ago at the Clayton church, 300 volunteers packaged 50,000 meals, and Ricks hopes to top that by 10,000 on Saturday.

“My dream was to raise $15,000, and that would support 60,000 meals.” Ricks said last Thursday. “And right now we’ve got $14,000. I think we’ve got a shot at the $15,000.”

Ricks said he got the idea for the meal-packaging events after hearing about one that was very successful. He started going to churches and pressing the idea of uniting forces to package meals. Eight eventually held packaging events.

“I just went forth. I call that stepping into the water,” Ricks said. “I eventually realized that God was going before me. He was opening people’s hearts. I was the servant working to accomplish his goal.”

This year, four churches will be taking part in the event: Horne Memorial, First Baptist, Everett Chapel and Faith Community.

Last Wednesday, Horne Memorial held a fundraising event at Zaxby’s in Clayton that raised $304 for the meals. Zaxby’s donated 15 percent of sales to the fundraiser.

“It’s for the community,” said Zaxby manager Otavia Holland.

Zebulon residents Brian and Tammy Vaughn came with their two small children, Kathryn and Greyson, to help the cause.

“Everett Chapel Church is one of the sponsors, and we are members there,” Tammy Vaughn said. It was a handy meeting for the couple; she had come from work in Garner, and he had come from home in Zebulon. “We met halfway,” she said.

They made sure to order a fine amount of food: two adult meals, two kids meals “and cheddar cheese balls,” Vaughn said.

For more information about the meal-packaging event, Tom Ricks at 919-333-8399.

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