Volunteers at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Gastonia were a well oiled machine Sunday afternoon as they worked to feed the hungry around the world.

Volunteers in hairnets gathered around a table, as the process began of stuffing clear plastic bags with a pack of vitamins, dehydrated soy protein, dehydrated veggies and a scoop of rice. 

Bags were then pushed forward to others to weigh, seal, and then pack up. The bags of food help support Rise Against Hunger, an international food relief ministry.

For every 1,000 bags packed up, a gong would ring out, helping the volunteers celebrate a milestone.

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Blane Maxwell, community engagement manager for Rise Against Hunger represented the international non-profit at the York Street church.

In 2019, Rise Against Hunger packed more than 77 million meals. The meals were then distributed to more than 36 different countries.

“As an organization we’ve packed over half a billion meals and we’ve distributed to over 78 different countries,” said Maxwell.

James Green, Donna Allen, and Carla Oakes pack up a box of bagged meals Sunday, Aug. 22, 2021, at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Gastonia to support Rise Against Hunger that will deliver the boxes of food to needy people around the world.

Food being packaged up on Sunday came from the Midwest. The Gastonia church raised about $3,500 to cover the cost of the event. Around 50 volunteers showed up at the York Street church to work and pack the boxes up.

The goal for Sunday’s pack was 10,152 meals. Every bag being filled contained six meals. Of these bags, 36 go into each box. Each box contained 216 meals.

“Every one of those boxes, if it goes to a school feeding program, one of those boxes can feed one child for an entire school year,” said Maxwell.

If the box ends up in the Caribbean island country of Haiti for emergency and disaster relief, each box could feed a family of four for a month. 

Volunteers at Holy Trinity Church in Gastonia weigh bags of food Sunday, Aug. 22, 2021, to support Rise Against Hunger that will deliver boxes of food to those in need around the world.

Belmont resident Bruce Zander helped organize the efforts at the church on Sunday. Volunteers don’t know yet where their humanitarian efforts will end up, he said. Last year’s food boxes went to Madagascar, an island country in the Indian Ocean off the coast of East Africa.

“We’re showing the world the light of Christ. We have to not only be fed spiritually but we have to be fed physically and that’s what we’re doing,” said Zander.