Credit: Temple B'nai Chaim

Each year members of the Wilton community come together to participate in one of the most gratifying, heartfelt volunteer efforts, the Wilton Interfaith Action Committee‘s (WI-ACT) Rise Against Hunger Meal-Packaging Event.

This year’s meal packaging falls on Saturday, Oct. 19, when 700 Wilton volunteers will come together to work across four, two-hour shifts over the course of a very full day, to make a difference in the lives of children living in food insecurity around the world.

In full, over the seven previous years of this event, Wilton has packaged more than one million meals, each one providing a highly nutritious meal in a compact package. What’s more the program nourishes children in mind as well as body, as recipient children are fed in educational settings, helping contribute toward breaking the cycle of poverty and malnutrition.

Wilton Rise Against Hunger volunteers also help meet food sufficiency needs here locally as well, by bringing non-perishable food items to the event for local food pantries.

For this year’s event, Wi-ACT has set the same goal as last year of 150,000 meals to be packaged in one day, but financing for the bulk ingredients to meet that goal has become a bigger challenge this year. WI-ACT pays for the meal components in advance from the organizer, highly rated nonprofit Rise Against Hunger, Inc. at a cost of 31 cents per meal. That’s a bargain for these highly nutritious meals that feed over 400 children (at the 150,000-meal level) for every day of an entire year but that price is an increase of two cents per meal over previous years and presents a major part of the financial challenge of again reaching the 150,000-meal level, to the total of $3,000.

A new feature of this year’s event will be a 40-ft. ocean-going container on site at the WEPCO Church Complex (36 New Canaan Rd.) where the meal-packaging is done. Some meals will already be pre-loaded from other events, but the majority of the meals it will contain are to be from this Wilton event. Once the Wilton event ends and all of the meals packaged that day in Wilton have been loaded, the container will be sealed and immediately driven dockside to be loaded on a ship and delivered, most likely to Somalia.

Anyone who would like to volunteer for meal-packaging is welcome to participate. Individuals and families (with members as young as 7-years-old who take on the very important “runner” responsibility, up to senior citizens) can join in the work to make it an uplifting and exciting full-family experience! Interested participants can sign up for a shift on-line.

Organizers are asking for community members to consider donating to help pay for the bulk ingredients so that Wi-ACT can hit the goal of  150,000 meals.  All funds raised go to pay for those bulk ingredients. Donations can be by check made payable to “Rise Against Hunger, Inc.” noting “Wilton CT event” on the memo line, and should be mailed to 6 Glen Hill Rd., Wilton, CT 06897, or donated directly to Rise Against Hunger for this Wilton event at a Rise Against Hunger, Inc. website dedicated for the Wilton event.