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Leonia Pastor Organizes Meal-Packing Event For Hungry

Volunteers are invited to Dwight Englewood High School to help arrange thousands of meals to feed locals in need.
Volunteers are invited to Dwight Englewood High School to help arrange thousands of meals to feed locals in need. Photo Credit: Outreach Against Hunger

LEONIA, NJ — A Leonia pastor was gathering organizations at Dwight Englewood High School on Thursday to create meals for the hungry.

“There is a district of 60 churches, and we got them all together to do one of these events," the Rev. David Wehrle, pastor of Leonia United Methodist Church, said before Rotary District 7490’s Third Annual Halloween Against Hunger Part II. "This is a good way to get (them) affordable food."

The first event was held at the church. The high school allows organizers to go much bigger, said Matthew Martin, the regional manager of Outreach Inc.

"We’ll do at least 41,000 meals -- if not more," Martin said.

Attending organizations -- such Calvary United Methodist Church in Dumont -- are joining students from Dwight Englewood and other organizations, 75 volunteers at a time, to make 12,000 non-perishable meals each hour.

Meals will then be distributed to families in Bergen and Passaic counties who can store them and then add boiling water before consuming them.

Based in Boston, Martin travels with thousands of meals in his cargo van to various locations in the Northeast and guides volunteers through assembling meals from macaroni to rice and a newer red-sauce meal.

He was delivering meals to foreign countries when he realized that one out of four American children are hungry. So he shifted some of his focus to domestic projects.

Wherle was instrumental in linking three counties with Martin’s organization for the event.

Each meal only costs 25 cents per youngster.

One dollar can feed a family of four.

Volunteers are welcome to attend.

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