Shoney’s ample buffet had to feel a bit outgunned last Thursday as Hillsville Rotary Club members and volunteers assembled 10,080 meals through the “Feed The Hunger” packathon.
“The Rotary Club is sponsoring the program, which is based in North Carolina. They send meals around the world to do exactly what they say. Feed the hungry. The meals themselves are basically rice, dried vegetables, a chicken base of protein. It meets the nutritional requirements to feed a family of four for a meal. All the family has to do is add a gallon of boiling water. It’s meant to sustain a family during an emergency,” said Rotary Club Treasurer Brian Spencer.
He said Feed The Hunger doesn’t only serve overseas, it recently sent food to Florida and Texas and are still sending food to Puerto Rico. (Feed The Hunger Director of Food Packing Scott Hahn said Houston received 350,000 meal servings and the effort regularly supplied food to schools in Harlan County, Kentucky.)
“What we are doing today is because they have no food left because of all the emergencies we’ve had lately. We’re packing 10,000 meals in two hours. This will go to help restock their supply. If they don’t tap into their supply because of a natural disaster they will send it to another country. The meals cost 28 cents a meal so this was a $2,800 project for Rotary,” said Spencer. “When you think you can pack a meal for 28 cents, how can you not want to give to this organization?”
Spencer first saw this during a summer Shoney’s convention when a set of huge double doors opened up to a Feed The Hunger campaign.
“Shoney’s packed 100,000 meals in less than two hours. It was incredible. It was moving to know you could reach out and do something like that, touch people’s lives. This happened during a business meeting. It shows you the essence of Shoney’s and their community involvement,” Spencer said. “I came back so excited about what I saw there I asked our rotary club what they thought. We passed the hat and within two weeks the Rotarians gave out of their pockets to make this possible. The Club is so inspiring. I’ve been a member for 18 years and the generosity of the members just never takes me by surprise to see what these members do.”
The effort required 40 to 45 volunteers for each hour. The Club has only 40 members. Rotary saw the obstacle as an opportunity.
“Not only are their Rotarians here, there’s spouses, co-workers and a group from Notre Dame doing their service project during their fall break. This is a very active club. I’ve been in clubs with 60 members who aren’t nearly as active as this one is. Of course, polio eradication is a big part, an emphasis for Rotary but hunger and nutrition is a focus and literacy is as well. This is one way we could help with hunger. Shoney’s does a lot in the community many may not be aware of like staying open until midnight after home football games and staying open after the (Agriculture) Fair’s horse pull,” said Pottorff.
Spencer said organizers wanted to make it fun and wanted a lot of people to be able to be a part of this.
Pottorff praised Shoney’s, all the Rotarians, partners, community members involved who made Spencer’s initiative possible. (Editor’s note: This is also the time when the Carroll County Ministerial Association’s Food Pantry typically runs low on food and donations so donations to that effort would also be appreciated.)
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave.