One of the most impoverished countries in the world, three-fourths of Haiti’s population lives on a budget of the equivalent of $2 or less per day, according to the CIA World Factbook.
Plagued with starvation, Rise Against Hunger, a Raleigh-base nonprofit, attempts to help by putting together bags of food for impoverished people like the Haitians.
In Farmville, Pastor Rich Meiser’s Wesley Foundation pitched in with their volunteers this past Tuesday, during which they packaged over 17,000 meals.
The Wesley Foundation is a student ministry funded by the Farmville United Methodist Church along High Street.
At six servings per bag, that is about 2,833 bags of food. Each of these bags contained a protein supplement, a dried vegetable mixture and rice.
Meiser heads the Wesley Foundation and has served as a campus minister to students of Longwood University and Hampden-Sydney College for 15 years.
Formerly known as “Stop Hunger Now” – the change was made in the spring to comply with international copyright law- Rise Against Hunger has been working with the Wesley Foundation for about eight to nine years.
“And then since then, we have been doing it in combination with the church next door,” Meiser said. “And we’ve packed meals on campus on several occasions, too.”
Meiser’s Foundation also participates in what is known as “gleaning.” In the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, God instructs the farmers to leave the corners of their fields unharvested.
This surplus food is left for the poor to take for themselves. Meiser has adapted this to a more modern context.
In the spring, Mesier’s student volunteers went on a mission trip to Florida to collect surplus food for filling food pantries. He is also working on bringing this back to Farmville.
“What we plan to do in the future is building a food pantry for students who are food insecure. Say if there are students whose meal plans run out before the semester is up and they don’t have a lot of resources,” Meiser said. “They’ll be able to come over, say, once every other week and pick up a bag of food.”
Meiser plans on having this food pantry available starting in late October.
The Wesley Foundation holds food packaging events for Rise Against Hunger once each semester. Free dinners are served before a worship service each Tuesday at the Wesley Foundation building on High Street.