Vitamins, lentils, soya, rice…vitamins, lentils, soya, rice…
It’s the mantra of all who helped at the Rise Against Hunger meal pack at Rotary Conference on the Saturday afternoon. How many were still reciting it in their sleep that night I wonder?
It was a great afternoon of fun, feeling as though we had done something more positive to help on the international scene, rather than simply listening to speakers and promising to take back their messages to our clubs.
Organisers Warrington Rotary Club, led by Irene and Eric Russell, had already discovered what a satisfying event it could be having brought together Rotary and other non-profit organisations to raise £25,000 and pack over 100,000 meals last year.
And so they embarked on bringing the idea to more Rotarians at Conference.
The aim was to pack 14,000 meals in just two hours.
Rotary International Vice President Jennifer Jones did her impression of J.R. Rank with the gong and we were off.
Rotarians and their partners, members of Inner Wheel, Rotaractors, Interactors, and RotaKids did their impressions too, looking like modern day versions of Ena Sharples in protective hair nets, as they manned tables previously prepared with boxes of grains, plastic bags, gloves and a funnel.
Our table of five women didn’t take long to get into their stride – vitamins, lentils, soya, rice. We were soon calling for a runner to take our box of five bags for weighing before they were sealed.
Two boxes on and we all moved changed places to break the monotony and get the old grey matter into a new routine. We were so quick that our runner, Rotary President 2019/20 Donna Wallbank’s hubby Stephen soon discovered we were a full-time job.
Every 1,000 bags filled and the gong was struck — try balancing lentils in a small scoop when that goes!
All too soon our hour-long stint had ended and we packed ourselves up ready for the second shift to move in.
We’d had fun; feeling quite fulfilled knowing that all this food would help families in Zimbabwe, as well as discovering how to truly bring together the family of Rotary.
At least one of next year’s District Governors is already looking to organise a similar event — bring it on!