Charles River Lends Support to Hunger Relief
Mary Parker

Charles River Lends Support to Hunger Relief

Twenty-eight sites are packaging 1 million meals today for Rise Against Hunger. The non-profit's ultimate goal is to put itself out of business.

Today, Charles River employees from all over the world will participate in the Global Day of Service, and many of those employees will be lending their energy to packaging meals to be distributed by the international nonprofit Rise Against Hunger. These meals, containing rice, soy or lentils, dried vegetables, and vitamin supplements, are distributed in countries where the population may be suffering from malnutrition.

"We work with a network of partner organizations to distribute meals through transformational feeding programs including schools, vocational training, maternal and child health clinics, hospitals and orphanages," said Toni Marraccini, Global Account Executive for the nonprofit. "Rise Against Hunger has distributed food and other aid to 74 countries, mostly in Central America and the Caribbean, sub-Saharan tropical Africa, and Southeast Asia. The only time our meals stay in the US is in the case of emergency response, including Hurricane Harvey."

But the real goal of Rise Against Hunger is to put itself out of business. The group organizes community empowerment programs to train vulnerable populations in efficient agricultural techniques, to help establish fish and livestock production, and to teach income-generating skills to those who are not farmers. The meals also go to the adults who attend these programs, since they must take time away from work to attend. The group believes that with access to education, good quality seeds and fertilizers, and practical training programs, vulnerable populations can become self-sufficient and lessen the pain of poverty. 

For example, in partnership with the faith-based group Hearts and Hands for Haiti, Rise Against Hunger is implementing a pilot program to improve agricultural practices in Poteau, Haiti. The two groups will provide equipment for drip irrigation, help with crop diversification, and provide training at a demonstration farm in the area. Other initiatives include sourcing the dried vegetables for their packaged meals from farms they helped develop in the Philippines, feeding the cycle of economic growth in the region.

"I've been with Rise Against Hunger for about 2.5 years and continue to be impressed by the work that we're doing as an organization," said Marraccini. "We're truly commited to seeing an end to extreme hunger by 2030, in line with the UN Global Goals. We know it's possible and we have a great strategy in place to help make it happen. We're grateful that our CRL shares this vision of a world without hunger and has elected to play such an important role in making it reality." 

This year marks the fourth anniversary of the partnership between CRL and Rise Against Hunger, but the first time the contribution will be company-wide. Thousands of employees from the US to China are expected to participate in the packaging of one million meals, which will go to schools around the world.