Bedford Rotary Goes Back to College to Pack Food for the Hungry

Bedford Rotary Goes Back to College to Pack Food for the Hungry

Courtesy of:
April 9, 2024
Submitted by the Rotary Club of Bedford

The Rotary Club of Bedford returns to Middlesex Community College on Saturday, April 27 with “Hope for the Hungry.“ After a five-year pandemic-induced hiatus, Rotary and MCC reunite for the club’s 9th annual meal-packing event to combat food insecurity. Volunteers of all ages will team up for a fun and rewarding two-hour opportunity to assemble beans, rice, dried veggies, and seasonings into meal packages that will feed the hungry in surrounding local communities. It is a “feel good by doing good” experience for volunteering parents, children, friends, neighbors, and individuals committing a little time and energy to help people in need. Volunteer meal-packing team slots are still open. Sign up quickly and get event details at:

Like many things post-pandemic, “Hope for the Hungry” is a change-filled event with a new name. This year, the Rotary Club of Concord joins Bedford Rotary in partnering with a new meal-packing partner. Meals of Hope is a Florida-based 501c3 non-profit incorporated in 2009. Its mission – To inspire and empower communities to come together to end hunger – is the drive behind the nearly 100 million meals it has packed nationwide to date. MOH Vice President Jack Day heads the New England headquarters in Chelmsford. He says that the focus is on keeping the meals that are packed in the local community. That relates directly to the Greater Boston Food Bank 2022 survey findings that a third of the Massachusetts adult population struggles with chronic food insecurity, and one in three family households faces child food insecurity. 2024 has seen little change. When having to choose between paying housing or medical expenses vs. buying food, food is frequently shortchanged. It’s those circumstances that make Food Banks and Community Food Pantries essential resources. The Bedford Food Pantry serves about 200 households weekly. Healthy Bedford Coordinator Carla Olsen and staff manage the pantry program that gets the majority of food items from the Greater Boston Food Bank. Items are selected from a GBFB weekly availability list and delivered the following week. A cadre of regular volunteers supports the Pantry, unloading deliveries, sorting, and storing fresh and frozen foods and boxed dry goods in preparation for distribution. After “Hope for the Hungry’s” meal-packing event, a thousand-package donation of the packed meals will be added to the Bedford Pantry’s distribution inventory. Meals of Hope offers various meal-packing possibilities, including pasta and tomato sauce, oatmeal, and mac and cheese. One of the most popular is rice and beans, and that’s what will be packed on April 27. Meal-packing is a simple, step-by-step, team effort process. It begins with the funnel dump of the individual high-quality ingredients into the meal package, followed by careful package weighing and weight adjustment, package sealing, and finishing with boxing three-dozen packages per box. The combined meal ingredients are enough for six individual-serving meals per package, each costing about 32 cents. Meals of Hope New England’s goal is to pack two million meals this year. “Hope for the Hungry’s” goal is to pack 50,000 of those meals. While grant funding through Rotary and sponsor funds pays for a major part of the meal ingredients, the “Hope for the Hungry” effort relies heavily on fundraising and individual donations. A $20 donation provides a meal for more than 60 persons. Donating $50 feeds more than 150 people. A donation in any amount helps reach the goal. Donate and sign up to participate here:

Locally, in addition to the Bedford Food Pantry, The Billerica Food Pantry, Lexington Food Pantry, and the Middlesex Community College Food Pantry programs on its Bedford and Lowell campuses are in line to receive as many packed meals as they can handle. But most of the packed meals will bring “Hope to the Hungry” through the Merrimack Valley Food Bank that serves an average 70,000 people monthly through 102 emergency feeding programs in 32 cities and towns, including Lowell, Lawrence, and Haverhill.

Mitzvah Day a Runaway Success at Temple Shir Tikva in Wayland

Mitzvah Day a Runaway Success at Temple Shir Tikva in Wayland

On March 10, over 350 volunteers packed more than 33,000 meals for Meals of Hope as Mitzvah Day roared back to life for the first time since 2019.

MARCH 22, 2024

Courtesy of Jewish Boston

On a sun-splashed Sunday morning on March 10, Temple Shir Tikva partnered with Meals of Hope for its annual “Mitzvah Day” to pack 33,000 meals for individuals facing food insecurity. Well over 350 volunteers worked in groups to pack fortified beans and rice meals that were distributed within the local community through the Merrimack Valley Food Bank.

Mitzvah Day chair Amanda Glynn was thrilled with the turnout, remarking that, “Bringing the community together to further social action really reflects what Shir Tikva is all about.” Temple Shir Tikva’s cantor, Hollis Schachner, added that the day was a “wonderful morning of bringing hundreds of our community members together to put our Jewish values into action in a vibrant, meaningful, high-energy way. The intergenerational nature of the food-packing project meant that there was a role for everyone, from our youngest children to our older adults.”

Meals of Hope developed seven meals specifically designed for the American palate and added vitamins, minerals, and proteins to supplement an unbalanced diet. Food packages were designed to address the need for an economical, nutritious solution to aid in the fight against hunger. Each packet contained enough food to provide six to eight meals.

“We were excited to have the opportunity to partner with Meals of Hope to help end hunger in our community” said Leah Staffin, TST director of community engagement. “Mitzvah Day is our temple-wide community day of faith-based social action when we undertake a volunteer project to help those in need.” Beth Goldfarb, development and communications coordinator, agreed: “The energy in the room was electric with the spirit of community engagement and compassion for those less fortunate. It was a wonderful event.”

“We are thankful and appreciative of the support provided by Temple Shir Tikva to help us combat the hunger epidemic,” said Jack Day, vice president of Meals of Hope. “The Greater Boston Food Bank reports that 33% of adults in Massachusetts experienced hunger last year. These types of events make for a fun and rewarding day for the volunteers, and they help us deliver healthy meals to underserved individuals.”

American Free Enterprise Day 2023

American Free Enterprise Day 2023

Courtesy of PBA News

November 16, 2023

2023 Medalists

Honoring Dina Dwyer-Owens as the 2023 Medalist & Jack Day, Stephen Popper and Buddy Raney as 2023 Companion Medalists

Jack DayJack Day


Jack Day serves as the vice president of franchise development at Meals of Hope, Inc., where he plays a pivotal role in shaping the company’s strategic direction for its meal packing business franchising. With his extensive experience and prior position as Director of Franchise Operations, Day has successfully developed their unique nonprofit-for-profit franchise model, resulting in the awarding of eight franchise territories within the first 18 months. Meals of Hope envisions expanding its impact across states with over 64 planned franchise territories, offering investors the opportunity to build successful businesses while providing nutritious meals to those in need nationwide. Before joining Meals of Hope, Jack accrued 37 years of senior management experience in the semiconductor industry, culminating in his role as Director of Foundry Operations, overseeing multiple subcontract suppliers and a $500M operating budget.


Dina Dwyer-OwensDina Dwyer-Owens


Dina Dwyer-Owens is an acclaimed author, motivational speaker and the first solo female member to be inducted into the International Franchise Association (IFA) Hall of Fame.

Dwyer-Owens has addressed audiences from stages across the globe and has been interviewed in leading media outlets including Inc., USA Today, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Bloomberg, Forbes and more.

She has more than 40 years of leadership experience, including 15 years as CEO of Dwyer Group (now the world’s largest franchisor of home services brands called Neighborly). In 2005, she released her first book, “Live R.I.C.H.: How to build success in your company and your life with a proven Code of Values,” and became a popular international motivational speaker on the topic of Living R.I.C.H. (with Respect, Integrity, Customer focus and Having fun in the process as a guide). In 2015, she released her second book, “Values, Inc.,” which was chosen as a Top Ten business book by Forbes.

She also spearheaded the reintroduction of the IFA’s VetFran program in 2001, which now includes some 650 franchisors that offer franchising financial incentives to veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. She gives God all the glory for the opportunities He has provided and is especially grateful for her family.

Stephen PopperStephen Popper


Stephen Popper is the visionary founder, president, and CEO of Meals of Hope, a remarkable nonprofit organization dedicated to combating hunger nationwide. Popper’s journey began in 2007 when he responded to a call for food assistance in Haiti while serving as Principal of a Wholesale Lumber Company. This generous spirit led to the birth of Meals of Hope, sparked by a community-wide meal packing event involving 500 volunteers who packed an astounding 135,000 Dried Fortified Meals. Inspired by this achievement, Steve and his wife, Charissa, set a goal to pack 1,000,000 meals in a year. Since then, Meals of Hope has developed eight unique meals and packed almost 100,000,000 meals. The organization’s multifaceted approach includes operating 15 weekly Food Pantries in SWFL, distributing 10,000 Backpacks of Food monthly to underprivileged elementary school children, and organizing meal-packing events nationwide. What makes Meals of Hope exceptional is its pioneering franchise model, offering entrepreneurs the opportunity to build their businesses while supporting the nonprofit’s mission. Meals of Hope anticipates packing over 15,000,000 meals in 2024, significantly impacting the fight against hunger across the United States. Steve’s dedication and leadership have truly made a difference in alleviating hunger throughout the country.

Buddy RaneyBuddy Raney


Buddy Raney is the visionary founder of Raney Construction, Inc. which he started in 1997. Emerging from a challenging background with limited formal education, he has displayed exceptional resilience, innovative thinking, and a keen business acumen as he navigated the intricacies of the construction industry. In 2008, amid the challenging financial crisis, he confronted significant adversity as bank lending evaporated, business loans were called in, and credit lines disappeared. Undeterred, Raney undertook a remarkable business transformation, embracing vertical integration and cutting-edge automation to streamline construction, minimize errors, and enhance quality. By 2019, Raney Construction had flourished, expanding exponentially with numerous divisions, a workforce of hundreds, and an impressive industrial presence. In 2019, the company was sold to Builders FirstSource, Inc. He is now a philanthropist and entrepreneur, and he and his wife, Connie, founded the Anchored Support Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “help those going through a hardship.” The goal is to “follow Jesus’ example by sharing compassion through unexpected blessings.”, bestowing newfound wealth, prompting introspection and a reevaluation of his life’s purpose.

Meals of Hope Hosts Meal Packing Event with Microsoft to Feed the DC Metro Community

Meals of Hope Hosts Meal Packing Event with Microsoft to Feed the DC Metro Community

NAPLES, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES, November 13, 2023 / — Meals of Hope recently hosted an event at Microsoft’s DC-area offices to pack 25,000 meals to combat hunger in the DC Metro region. Approximately 130 volunteers worked in groups to pack Meals of Hope’s Fortified Cinnamon Sugar, Diced Apple Oatmeal that will be distributed within the local community through both the Capital Area Food Bank and the Maryland Food Bank.

“We were grateful to get to participate in such a meaningful activity with Meals of Hope,” said Andrea Evans, Director, DC Metro Employee and Community Strategy for Microsoft. “In this season of giving, Microsoft employees enjoyed the opportunity to pack meals for people who are experiencing food insecurity in our community. And we had fun while doing it, thanks to the thoughtful way Meals of Hope structured the day.”

Meals of Hope developed six meals specifically designed for the American palate and added vitamins, minerals and proteins to supplement an unbalanced diet. Food packages are designed to address the need for an economical, nutritious solution to aid in the fight against hunger. Each packet contains enough food to provide six to eight meals.

“We are thankful and appreciative of the support provided by Microsoft to help us combat the hunger epidemic,” said Jack Day, Vice President of Meals of Hope. “These types of events make for a fun and rewarding day for the volunteers, and they help us deliver healthy meals to underserved individuals.”

About Microsoft
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

About Meals of Hope
Meals of Hope, a Southwest Florida charitable organization that feeds approximately 4,000 needy families per week with nutritious meals, is the only food packing organization with a priority on keeping that food within the United States. More than 25,000 volunteers and 15 full-time staff members assist Meals of Hope in achieving its Mission of “communities coming together to end hunger.”

Meals of Hope combats hunger through three primary initiatives: meal packing events (in 2022, nearly 10,000,000 meals were packed);15 local food pantries where about 4,000 families receive frozen meat, fresh produce and canned goods every week, and various out of school programs such as a weekend backpack program and the delivery of hot meals to school age children.
Meals of Hope
2221 Corporation Blvd.
Naples, FL 34109
(239) 537-7775
Stephen Popper, President/CEO
[email protected]

Stephen Popper
Meals of Hope
+1 239-537-7775
email us here