Ray Buchanan has dedicated his life to ending hunger, an epidemic that affects 805 million people throughout the world. Every night, one in nine people across the globe goes to bed hungry.
An ordained United Methodist minister and former U.S. Marine who served in Vietnam, Buchanan founded or co-founded three charities that over the past three decades have made a huge difference in the lives of hungry people.
Stop Hunger Now, a Raleigh-based international relief agency that Buchanan founded in 1998, will celebrate his legacy at “Packaging Hope,” a special event on September 25 at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts.
The event, to be held in the A.J. Fletcher Theater beginning at 6 p.m., will feature a keynote speech by Tony P. Hall, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Culture and former member of the U.S House of Representative from Ohio.
Initially envisioned as an entrepreneurial model for providing rapid, cost-effective responses to international crisis situations, Stop Hunger Now has grown and evolved rapidly. The agency has packaged over 204 million meals in 71 countries since it launched its meal-packaging program in 2005. In 2014 alone, it engaged nearly 275,000 volunteers who packaged 50.7 million meals at meal-packaging events hosted in 16 countries.
Stop Hunger Now also focuses on transformational development and sustainable community development programs that support the long-term eradication of hunger. It distributes meals through feeding programs operated by partner organizations in developing countries that promote education, encourage children to attend school, improve students’ health and nutrition, address gender inequalities, stimulate economic growth, fight child labor, and are part of the movement to address global issues.
Buchanan also co-founded the Society of St. Andrew in 1979 and co-directed it for 19 years. The organization distributes 20 million to 30 million pounds of food a year in the U.S. And in 1999 he helped found the Foods Resource Bank, which helps raise $3.5 million a year to help people in developing countries grow their own food.
Other speakers at the event will include Mike Giancola, associate vice provost for student leadership and engagement at North Carolina State University; Mike Ward, MEWs Educational Consulting and former state superintendent of public instruction of North Carolina; Jeff Truitt, an attorney in the corporate and commercial groups at Smith Anderson; John Hewitt, president, CEO and chairman of Liberty Tax Service; and Rod Brooks, CEO of Stop Hunger Now.
About Stop Hunger Now
Stop Hunger Now works to end hunger by providing food and life-changing aid to the world’s most vulnerable people, and by creating a global commitment to mobilize the necessary resources. Founded in 1998, we have provided over 200 million meals in 71 countries. This year, we will package 45 million meals, and ship over $9 million in donated aid, mainly vitamins and medical supplies. Based in Raleigh, N.C., we operate meal-packaging programs at 19 cities in the U.S. and in South Africa, Malaysia, India, Italy and the Philippines.
At meal-packaging events, volunteers from businesses, faith congregations, civic organizations, and schools and universities engage in an assembly-line production process and package high-protein, highly nutritious meals for those in need. Volunteers set up packaging stations and equipment, fill bins with raw ingredients, scoop the ingredients into meal bags, weigh and seal the bags, box and stack meals on pallets, and load the pallets and equipment onto a truck for shipment abroad. Anyone age five and older can participate in a meal-packaging event, and a group of 30 to 40 people can easily package 10,000 meals in a two-hour packaging shift.