IWA sends meals overseas

Published 10:10 am Monday, March 6, 2017

Isle of Wight Academy students packaged 14,472 meals on Friday morning to send to developing countries overseas, concluding a months-long partnership with the Raleigh-based charity Rise Against Hunger. The event was held in the Vaughan Gym of Isle of Wight Academy from 10 a.m. to noon.

According to Shannon Spain, IWA’s coordinator for the event, approximately 50 students from IWA’s junior and senior student councils and RAK Pack, an acronym for random acts of kindness, as well as 10 parent volunteers, participated. The school’s original goal for the partnership was to package slightly over 10,000 meals but students were able to raise $4,200 over 15 days, which at $0.29 per meal, enabled them to package 14,472. In addition to the meals, the school also will donate $42 toward Rise Against Hunger’s program to help developing countries dig wells.

Students were organized into groups, with each group responsible for a separate task in preparing the meals. Students in charge of the first step in the process would add a vitamin packet, scoop of soy, dehydrated vegetables and a scoop of rice to a small plastic bag. Another group would weigh each completed bag to ensure it met Rise Against Hunger’s requirements, and then would heat seal the bag. A third group would label each sealed bag, including the date the meal was made and when it would expire, and then pack the labeled meals into boxes.

“It’s like a little assembly line,” Spain said.

According to Tony Corincello, the Stop Hunger Now representative attending the event, all the ingredients are nonperishable and have an expiration date of two years from the day they are packaged. He did not know which country the meals the students were packaging were to be delivered, but said that Rise Against Hunger currently has three shipments currently in the works intended for Mozambique and two going to Malawi. Countries must go through a rigorous application process before they are deemed eligible to receive shipments.

IWA’s junior student council organization consists of students in grades four through seven and its RAK Pack consists of middle school students.

Lunch for the students and volunteers was provided by Amici’s Pizza Cafe of Suffolk.