Volunteers ready meal bags for packing during the third annual Rise Against Hunger meal pacing event at Jefferson High School Sunday. (DHI Media/Rebecca Violet)
Volunteers ready meal bags for packing during the third annual Rise Against Hunger meal pacing event at Jefferson High School Sunday. (DHI Media/Rebecca Violet)
DELPHOS — Rise Against Hunger came to the area when 230 local volunteers helped package 35,024 meals in approximately 90 minutes.

Rise Against Hunger turns 21 years old this year and this is the third year that the Delphos community has participated. The event was overseen by Jennifer Anderson, community engagement manager for the Indianapolis Territory. Also supervising the event was Delphos hosts Ellen and Buzz Ditto.

Both Anderson and Ellen Ditto were busy setting up the event in the Jefferson High School gym. Anderson gave instructions over a microphone as well as announcements for each 1,000 meals created. Per tradition, a gong was sounded with each 1,000 benchmark. Volunteers worked to upbeat music until 3 p.m. when their total amount of meals was revealed.

Rise Against Hunger was founded by Marine and Vietnam War veteran Ray Buchanan. Originally called Stop Hunger Now, the movement was re-branded in 2017. Buchanan reasoned that committing to something larger than yourself was necessary to accomplish a mission. This sentiment was echoed by the organizers and volunteers of the local event. Anderson personally believed that the most important aspect of Rise Against Hunger was being able to see so many people of different ages, abilities and backgrounds come together to work on a single goal.

“It brings brings the community together and gives people the experience of doing something outside themselves and for the world,” Ditto responded when asked about the impact on the local community.

St. John’s High School junior and volunteer Jenia Freewalt also expressed her personal reasons to support the Rise Against Hunger.

“I’ve done this for three years. It’s a really good experience and it’s nice to get to help people around the world,” she said.

There are several surprising statistics reported by Rise Against Hunger and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. These include the fact that 25,000 people a day die from hunger. Another statistic reveals that nearly 40-percent of American food is thrown away.

“One-in-nine people in the world go to bed hungry or malnourished and there’s no reason for it,” Ditto stressed.

Rise Against Hunger is taking a stand against these statistics. Last year the organization produced 70 million meals to help feed 1.4 million people. Donations to Rise Against Hunger are encouraged as 93-percent of a donation goes to purchasing meal ingredients.

The next local opportunity to volunteer for Rise Against Hunger will come Feb. 23, 2020. It will take place at the Delphos St. John’s All Saints Building located on 515 E. Second St., with the doors opening at 12:30 p.m. Donations can be given through The Carpenter’s Ministry at the First Federal Bank. Interested individuals can also donate or register to volunteer using Google Chrome at http://events.stophungernow.org/Delphos2020. For more information contact Buzz or Ellen Ditto at 419-233-3524 or ditto@im3.com.