Almost 200 people took a stance against hunger on November 14, 2017 by participating in Rise Against Hunger. The event was hosted by Arise Campus Ministries and generously sponsored by St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church located in Annandale, Virginia.

The activity was aptly scheduled during Hunger and Homelessness week at George Mason University. The weather was chilly outside that evening but the Hub Ballroom on the campus of GMU was warm with the excitement and energy of hundreds of people ready to work together to help the hungry. The ingredients for 40,000 packaged meals were waiting to be assembled.

Young and old alike, consisting of members of St. Matthew’s UMC, Arise Campus Ministry members, GMU students and various other volunteers gathered at the rows of tables representing one of the three necessary stations to begin the organized process.
Equipped with rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and a micronutrient mix, those at the ‘funnel station’ began adding their designated ingredients. Time flies when you are having fun and more and more completed bags filled the bins in record time waiting for a ‘runner’ to take the bags to the ‘scale station’ and then on to the ‘sealing’ station.’

The room buzzed with talk, laughter, and the resonating strike of the gong every time 5,000 meals were completed and boxed up to be distributed to disaster areas.

Less than two hours after the volunteers filed in, the last of the 40,000 bags were completed. An astronomical feat compared to last year’s campaign. The number of meals made this year was almost tripled compared to the amount at last year’s event and additionally completed in much less time, thanks to St. Matthew’s UMC. They made it possible by the many helping hands of their constituents who volunteered and their generous donation to provide the essential elements needed to produce 40,000 meals. The increase in students who have joined and/or are participating with Arise Campus Ministry was also a factor in the much larger turnout of volunteers. Hosting the event on the Ministry’s Community Night as the designated service project was another positive element.

Big smiles were on the faces of all the attendees as they posed for pictures at the end of the evening. The general consensus of the participants was that Rise Against Hunger was a fun and tangible way to help the hungry. Thank you to all Rev. Hough, Rev. Han, the entire congregation at St. Matthew’s UMC, Arise’s students, board members, and all the volunteers who attended.

-Drew Enz, ARISE Campus Minister