Around 450 local volunteers gathered on Friday and Saturday to pack more than 80,000 meals for Stop Hunger Now, an international hunger relief organization that coordinates meals and aid to those that need it most.
Volunteers of all ages -- from 5 years old through those in their early 80s -- showed up for three separate packing events last weekend, said Emmanuel Lutheran Church's Rick Thiele, whose group organized the event with the Vienna Presbyterian Church. Friday was a special youth volunteer night at VPC, while Saturday attracted volunteers of all ages to two shifts at Madison High School.
"There were Boy Scouts, the local chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority,
volunteers who saw a sign in Anytime Fitness advertising the event that
Saturday morning, and even some who were conscripted from a brunch where,
after everyone had eaten, the hostess announced, 'We're going to go help
Stop Hunger Now,'" Thiele said. "All in all, a true community effort is the takeaway."
The group packed slightly more than its original goal of 80,000 meals, Thiele said, with donations upwards of $20,000 to make that happen.
In the past, VPC and ELC had hosted their own Stop Hunger Now events, but Thiele said the two organizations will likely work together in the future to elicit "even more community support."
For a glimpse of the event, click on the photos in the media gallery above.