On Saturday, March 11, the Brooklyn Bridge (BBRC) and Verrazano Rotary Clubs are teaming up with Project Outreach to help alleviate food insecurity throughout Brooklyn and Queens.
“As Rotarians, it gives us great joy to help others in need, both domestically and internationally. The End Hunger Outreach event is special in that it brings together people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities to help feed the undernourished in our own backyards. We are literally feeding our neighbors,” said Lizzette Muniz, BBRC President.
Food insecurity is “the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food,” as defined by Google. More than 800 million people worldwide experience food insecurity daily.
In New York City, there are approximately one million food insecure people, and more than half of those are children. For many of these children, the only meals they eat are breakfast and lunch that are provided by the schools. When schools are closed on holidays or weekends, so often these children do not eat all day.
“This, in the United States of America, the richest country in the history of humanity, is simply unacceptable on any level,” said Mark Dana, President-elect of BBRC. On March 11, the two Rotary Clubs will package meals for food banks and soup kitchens at MCU Park – home to the Brooklyn Cyclones.
Project Outreach packages food to reverse the starvation process that occur in children’s bodies, restore health, and improve mental and physical alertness. Each package provides six nutritionally balanced meals that meet dietary guidelines.
“The End Hunger Outreach program is an amazing opportunity to bring awareness to the fact that many of our neighbors, including children, are hungry and undernourished,” Ben Truncali, President of Rotary Club of Verrazano said. “On March 11, Rotarians and friends from Brooklyn and beyond will gather to help solve that problem by providing nutritious meals for those in need in our communities.”
The food and materials provided by Outreach come at cost of $40 per volunteer, or $480 per assembly table. This works out to approximately 25 cents per meal distributed to a hungry child.
Ten volunteers surround two tables made into a simple assembly line. Each packaging line can pack over 2,000 meals per hour. The groups expect to package at least 20,000 meals to deliver to local food pantries and homeless shelters.
The March event is the second major Outreach project in the district. “In November 2016, District 7255 started a relationship with The Outreach Program to package meals for the homeless and other needy Long Islanders. Over the span of 2 hours on November 12, 296 Rotarians and other volunteers came from 24 Rotary clubs to package meals for over 39,000 of our less-fortunate neighbors,” said MJ Fitzgerald, Rotarian District Governor of Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island.
Project Outreach has provided ingredients to package over 260 million meals over the past decade. Their meals have been received all over the globe, and have been credited with saving the lives of thousands of children, adults and seniors.
For more information, visit www.endhungerne.org, www.brookylnbridgerotarycub.org, or www.verrazanorotaryclub.org.