“ What A Relief Podcast ” 91: Rising Against Hunger - TogetherOn this episode of the What a Relief Podcast, host B.C. Dodge  and IRUSA’s Said Durrah talk with Nick DiMare – right after IRUSA volunteers packed 20,000 meals in New Jersey with Rise Against Hunger.

Actually, it was 30,000 – counting the meals packed on the same day at another location.

“These meals are packets of hope – packets of opportunity,” Nick said.

Nick is community engagement manager of Rise Against Hunger, which aims to end hunger by 2030 by sending food around the world.

The group has partnered with 74 countries, sending food to schools so kids can go to school rather than leaving to beg or work for food. When children stay in school, they can grow up to get better jobs, and that gives them a much better chance of leaving poverty and hunger behind.

“I’m so glad we’re doing this partnership with Rise Against Hunger,” said Said Durrah, IRUSA’s volunteer manager. “I’ve heard many times growing up here in the U.S. ‘I couldn’t go to college, I had to pay the bills.’ Or ‘When I turn 18, I’m leaving the house, I’m getting a job.’ You very rarely hear ‘I had to leave school—my elementary school, my middle school or my high school—because I had to pay the bills.”

Said is happy IRUSA volunteers can help kids stay in school in this hands-on way.

“It’s awesome to be able to have the volunteers … package it up and ship it out and know that the next time it opens it up is internationally,” he said.

The meals are packets of rice with soy, dehydrated vegetables and vitamins added.

’That sounds like a pretty bland meal, and it is, but that’s because we cater to all these different countries,” Nick said. “Imagine the massive amount of tastebuds that means.”

So the recipients often use them as a meal base. As they add water and cook the food, they often add more ingredients like chicken, beans, or local spices.

“There are hundreds if not thousands of ways to make these meals,” Nick said. “I’ve seen it in Belize where they have separated the rice and soy and then they made a soy paste to put over it with garlic and oil. They have separated the rice and soy and made soy patties. So many different ways.”

“And even if you have these meals bland, they are still a pretty good meal. It has all the nutrition needed for your day,” Nick said.

Said related to that. He said in Ramadan, when we’re fasting, he’s ready to get creative with simple foods.

“I’m telling you, by about 4:00, man, I’ll see a pack of saltines sitting there and I’m like you know what I would do with those saltines? I’d put some cream cheese on them and I would dress it up—designing a meal with the saltines,” he said. “Well, I’m doing that because I want to fast. These individuals are doing it because they have to.”

Islamic Relief USA aims to pack enough meals in 2018 to fill up two 40-foot shipping containers.

“That’s around 580,000 meals, and this is just a start,” he said. “IRUSA.org/volunteer—sign up, get out there.”

If you would like more information, or to take part in an upcoming pack-out, you can learn more by clicking here.

Entire families can help. Kids love it.

Tune in to hear more stories—Nick’s friend Eric who helps out because he remembers what it was like to be the kid who needed that meal, and a woman and her nephew who realized they were both packing meals for IRUSA and RISE at the same time in different states. And find out the heartwarming story of the RISE warehouse.


**And now you can reach out to us at our new email address: warp@irusa.org!**

“What a Relief!” is the official podcast of Islamic Relief USA. Hosted by social media specialist B.C. Dodge, IRUSA’s “What a Relief!” puts a human face on what’s going on in the world and how you can enact positive change in it. New episodes every week!



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