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Rotary helps to defeat hunger

Volunteers gather to package food for those in need

John Henry, chair of the Regional Municipality of Durham, and volunteers of four local Rotary clubs, package meals for Kids Against Hunger Canada. This event was held on Saturday at the Jubilee Pavilion in Lakeview Park. (Photo by Stefany Harris)

Stefany Harris/The Oshawa Express

More than a hundred volunteers dressed in white aprons and hairnets collaborated in an effort to tackle hunger on Saturday.

Members of the Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood, Oshawa, Whitby, Whitby-Sunrise and their family members joined forces with Kids Against Hunger Canada (KAHC) to purchase and pack 30,000 meals in one day at the Jubilee Pavillion in Lakeview Park.

KAHC is a registered Canadian charity, whose mission is to end starvation and malnutrition related diseases in children. The charity packages and ships nutritious meals to starving and malnourished children within Canada and developing countries around the world.

In 2018, with transportation provided by KAHC, most of the meals went to families in Kenya and Haiti, but some were given to Indigenous families in Canada. This year, the humanitarian project has chosen to send all meals to Peru and El Savadore.

According to KAHC, since its launch, they have provided more than 100 million meals for children and their families in 40 countries through the efforts of more than 200,000 volunteers.

“There are still starving children in this world. Ten children die in a minute from starvation or diseases caused by starvation. This tallies up to 15 million a year. I’ve seen pictures of kids with distended bellies and their ribs showing. This is serious,” said Ted Morrison, past district governor of Rotary International District 7070 and chair of the event.

“Last year there were only two rotary clubs involved, so we were only able to do 16,000 meals. This year, we have four rotary clubs involved, so every club pitched in $2,500 which allowed us to package 30,000 meals,” said Morrison.

Food scientists took nearly three years to develop a suitable food package to send away to these countries, according to KAHC’s website.

Each package contains six meals only costing $0.23 per serving.
The website also notes each meal has ingredients that provide a blend of protein, carbohydrates, and vitamins needed by an undernourished child’s body.

Each meal contains a scoop of fortified soy protein powder that has 53 per cent of a child’s daily value of protein and nine minerals, a scoop of yellow powder that has 21 essential vitamins and minerals, dehydrated vegetables, long-grain white rice, and dehydrated black beans.

KAHC’s aim is for their meals to provide a stable nutritional base from which the recipient peoples can move their families from starvation to self-sufficiency.

“The food that we’re giving to people doesn’t look very appetizing, but when it is put into six cups of water to make six meals, it’s very delicious, nutritious and very easily digested,” said Morrison.