Posted by: Carl Blesch | April 30, 2011

Producing 40,000 Meals for Children in Developing Countries

At 9:43 a.m., Andrew Sullivan gathered 20 volunteers around a table to show them how to make a packaged protein, vegetable and rice casserole. He guided the group through making the first of almost 7,000 bags of food that volunteers will package throughout the day.

Andrew Sullivan

Andrew Sullivan from Stop Hunger Now instructs volunteers how to make food packages

When Rutgers Day ends, Sullivan and his team from Stop Hunger Now will truck the packages to Philadelphia, and next week, they will be on their way to Haiti or Nicaragua for distribution to local schools, where they will make nutritious meals for local children.

Sullivan slowly walked them through the process which would soon become swift and second nature: grab a plastic bag, drop a multivitamin packet in the bottom, then add a cup of soy protein, a scoop of dehydrated carrots, onions, celery and tomatoes, followed by another cup of rice. Drop this into a “runner tray,” so-named because when the four volunteers at each table finish five bags, another volunteer called a “runner” sprints it over to the scale table.

There, other volunteers make minor adjustments to the bag’s weight, to ensure it weighs between 377 and 382 grams for consistency in shipping. The first bag of the morning was over 400 grams. Scoop out a tablespoon of rice into a container, and the bag is just right. Now close it with a heat sealer, and it can stay fresh for five years.


Volunteers assemble a soy, vegetable and rice casserole package

School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR) dean David Finegold told the group they are practicing scientific management techniques that expert Frederick Taylor wrote about 100 years ago. “That’s what our whole school is about – improving the world of work,” he said.

Volunteers affiliated with SMLR and Rutgers Against Hunger hope Rutgers Day guests will stop by the Werblin Center multisports gym and help fill bags. You may be startled, not only by how fast the process goes and how fun it is to participate in this worthwhile activity, but by the crashing gong that Sullivan hits every time volunteers package the equivalent of 1,000 meals. Expect loud cheers as everyone celebrates one more step toward the day’s goal of filling 40,000 meals!


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