Rising Against Hunger
Students, staff work to help stop world hunger
BROADALBIN — Over 300 volunteers packed meals for the hungry at Broadalbin-Perth High School’s gymnasium Sunday afternoon in what events specialist Olivia Nicotra said was the biggest turnout of her career.
Nicotra is the East Coast’s director of events for Rise Against Hunger, an organization with the aim of ending world hunger by 2030.
“This event is one of the largest I’ve seen. We typically package 10,000 meals, but today we are packing 43,848 meals. This is huge,” Nicotra said.
Nicotra said volunteers feel wonderful giving aid to hungry people, even though they never see whom they give aid to.
“It is a great feeling to know they are contributing to end world hunger,” she said.
Rise Against Hunger volunteers package and send meals to 74 developing countries, splitting the meals to the ones most in need shipping rice, dried vegetables, a vitamin packet and soy protein with affiliates in each country distributing the food.
“Since the meals we send are vegetarian, it is used as a base so families and individuals can add their own country’s spices and meats,” Nicotra said.
Organizer Sam Jackling of Broadalbin First Presbyterian Church said Rise Against Hunger was first introduced in the community by the church who hosted the event six years ago.
“We got too big so we approached the school district to host the annual event,” Jackling said. “It is our third year at the high school and the sixth year for us.”
Broadalbin-Perth Central School District along with First Presbyterian Church and the United Methodist Church raised funds in support of Rise Against Hunger raising $14,000, or 33 cents a meal, for the event.
The lion’s share came from The Learning Community and Intermediate Schools that raised $7,000, according to Jackling.
“Last year, we sent food to the West African nation of Burkina-Faso,” Jackling said.
“We are always looking to make this an even better event,” Broadalbin-Perth Superintendent Stephen Tomlinson said. “This is truly a community event.”
Tomlinson noted that generations of volunteers from age three to 90 have made this event possible with help from community organizations from the Lions Club to student councils.
“Many of our children will be shaped by this experience into more giving adults,” Tomlinson said. “It’s important for volunteering. As they get older, they may even choose to go into humanitarian careers. “
Jordan Montgomery has helped volunteer with her daughters Lexi and Lilly since the school first hosted the event.
“They look forward to it every year,” Montgomery said.
She said Lexi and Lilly wanted to volunteer at the animal shelter, but couldn’t because of their ages so they came up with this solution of giving.
“It is important to try to do a good thing. This is something we can do together,” Montgomery said.