Earlier this week, my social media account reminded me of a memory from one year ago. It was a time lapse video I made with my phone as 300+ people scurried around our worship space packaging Rise Against Hunger meals. The timing was perfect — in a few days, we’ll set up the lines once again and engage together in worship through service as we package another 80,000 meals.
We started with a 10,000 meal event in 2008, and we thought that was pretty cool. When the horrendous earthquake devastated Haiti and the Dominican Republic in 2010, we felt as if God sounded an alarm among us, asking, “What will you do?” Just a few days after the earthquake, in a hastily arranged event, our congregation answered that call in a big way — packaging more than 140,000 meals in just a few hours. At the time, I think many of us honestly believed that this was our only way to participate in the drive to Rise Against Hunger. What small dreamers we were!
Though the meals we have packaged have found their way to eight different countries, our greatest partnership has been with the people of Haiti. If you are reading this blog and you live in North Carolina, you’re likely familiar with the work of Hearts and Hands for Haiti (HHH). Rise Against Hunger is working with HHH to develop sustainable agriculture futures and opportunities for Haitian farmers. Maybe more importantly, this agricultural partnership is helping to develop the next generation of farmers in Haiti.
A couple of years ago, it was my great joy to visit Haiti and experience first-hand what a difference Rise Against Hunger and HHH are making in several communities around Gonaives. It is a really big deal to be able to attend school in Haiti, and for many students, the Rise Against Hunger meal they have for lunch is their only meal of the day. Hungry kids have a hard time being happy kids. Yet, at every school we visited, the joy was truly palpable. If that joy could have been harnessed for energy, every home on the island would have been wired for electricity — and we only visited four schools! We are truly thankful to partner with Rise Against Hunger in their quest to end world hunger by 2030.