BURLINGTON, N.C. – Staff members from National Agents Alliance partnered with New Directions International during its “Feed the Hunger Pack-A-Thon” at Holly Hill Mall on Dec. 7, helping provide non-perishable food for local children and food packs that will wind up feeding thousands of children overseas.
New Directions International, a non-profit organization based out of Alamance County which started helping those in need in 1968, helps provide more than 1.5 million meals annually around the world. More than 122,000 meals were packed during the event in Burlington, N.C. on Friday and Saturday. 10,000 children in places like Haiti and Jamaica are fed daily thanks to NDI’s efforts.
More than 500 children will be feed for an entire school year because of the two-day event. Volunteers work for at least two hours at Pack-A-Thons, helping NDI deliver its promise of feeding the physical, educational and spiritual hunger of at-risk children overseas. Each meal consists of four ingredients – dehydrated vegetables, a scoop of soy, 19 vitamins and minerals and rice.
By the end of 2012, NDI projects that it will provide more than 2 million meals this year in eight countries.
NDI CEO Joseph Williams said the event was about bringing the community and its businesses together to serve a greater cause to those in need around the world.
“Right now, we are sending this food to five different countries,” Williams said. “These events are great because they give people a chance to put their hands on something that will end up in the hands of children all over the world. It doesn’t matter who you are, you can do this and make a difference. I don’t know that there’s an easier way to do that than what we offer people through these events.”
Williams said each two-hour shift yields 25,000 units, with each unit feeding around six children for a day. Each station produces 4,000 servings during their respective shift – with 60 to 80 minutes of actual production.
“Being at this event reminds me of just how privileged we are,” NAA staff member Kylie Abele said. “All the things we take for granted like driving through at a drive-thru for a milkshake or something when these kids will never have that chance. There was a video of children eating with their hands and it made a lasting impression on me. We are so lucky.”
Courtney Bartlett, another National Agents Alliance staff member at the Pack-A-Thon, said the event left an impression with her because she didn’t realize many children only eat once a day.
“Having young children at home and knowing how much they eat each day, it really hit home to learn that so many kids only get one meal a day,” Bartlett said. “It’s amazing to think that we helped them produce 100,000 meals that will end up on the plate of a child in a place like Haiti. I’m really glad I was able to volunteer at this event.”
NAA President and CEO Andy Albright said he was happy his staff could give back to Alamance County and beyond.
“We’ve maintained that we are always going to make a difference for other people outside of making money and having fun,” Albright said. “This is just another example of that and I am so proud of our team for taking the time to do something small that makes such a huge impact in the world for others. We love what New Directions International does and we proudly support its efforts all over the world. When you consider that you are helping feed more than 120,000 people in need that’s a big deal.”
For more information on NDI’s efforts, visit www.FeedtheHunger.org.