NEW YORK -- An estimated 792.5 million people in the world (two-thirds in Asia) are chronically malnourished. One in nine people go to bed hungry each night and 66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry. It brings to mind what Mother Teresa once said: "If you can't feed a
NEW YORK -- An estimated 792.5 million people in the world (two-thirds in Asia) are chronically malnourished. One in nine people go to bed hungry each night and 66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry. It brings to mind what Mother Teresa once said: "If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one."
Thursday afternoon at the Major League Baseball Commissioner's Office in Manhattan, about 100 employees volunteered to feed a community thanks to a second annual food-packing event with the organization Rise Against Hunger. They met a goal of mixing, sealing and boxing 11,880 packages filled with rice, soy and dried vegetables, feeding 70,000 hungry children internationally.
Rise Against Hunger engaged more than 375,000 volunteers from MLB and other groups in 2016 and is committed to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of ending hunger by 2030. After enlisting in the Army decades before in the Vietnam War, Ray Buchanan, a United Methodist minister, decided in 1998 he needed to do something "bigger than himself," launching Stop Hunger Now. In 2017, the organization was rebranded as Rise Against Hunger, supporting school feeding programs and leveraging support to address issues related to poverty, disease, education and the welfare of women and children.
"At Rise Against Hunger, we believe in what we call a transformational feeding program," Nick DiMare, the North Carolina-based organization's community engagement coordinator, told the MLB volunteers. "We will take these meals and bring it to schools. In all of these countries we partner with, children are begging at the corner for little to nothing. Children are working in factories to try to get something to eat. They are begging for food. But instead of going to that factory, instead of going to the corners, all these children have to do is go to school.
"When at the school, they are able to get a meal and get fed. When they are at that school, that is their only meal of the day. But when they are there, they are able to get this healthy meal that you guys packed, that you guys provided for them. When they are there, they are also able to grow physically and mentally, because of the work being done in this room today...Truly these children are having their lives saved."
DiMare called it a "great teamwork environment" as different volunteers were tasked with clanging the gong announcing each 1,000-packed milestone on the way to 11,880. Many of the volunteers were MLB interns, and Rise Against Hunger reached out to them specifically to take the message back to their campuses and to stage food-packing events.
"We are honored to be in the Major League office, just because you guys are such a big part of us, of who we are," DiMare said. "You guys believe in our mission and our goals, and we truly wouldn't be able to do this if it wasn't for you guys."
As MLB's vice president of community affairs, Tom Brasuell sees this public service occuring year-round across its 30 clubs. He knows that in addition to direct assistance through this event, there is also a positive effect of raising awareness across a generation that can help end hunger in their lifetimes.
"This is going to add to the 329 million meals they have done in the last year in 74 countries," Brasuell said of Rise Against Hunger. "It's a needed activity, needed food for families who need food generally. Also, they assist families who are victims of disasters like fires and floods. What you are doing is definitely needed, it's a fantastic thing."
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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com and a baseball writer since 1990. Follow him @Marathoner and read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com/blogs hub.