Community fundraiser to help end hunger begins soon

thumbnails of three Rise Against Hunger sponsor cards
Teams and clubs are selling these sponsor cards to raise money for Rise Against Hunger.

The time draws near for B-P students to search between couch cushions, under car seats and deep in every pocket for spare change — as the annual Rise Against Hunger fundraiser revs into gear.

Rise Against Hunger is an international hunger relief organization that distributes food and life-changing aid to the world’s most vulnerable children and families. The group’s goal? End hunger by 2030.

More than 820 million people around the globe are considered hungry, and 2 billion worldwide experience moderate or severe food insecurity, according to a 2019 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

Last year, the Broadalbin-Perth community funded and packed more than 40,000 meals that were delivered to Malawi in southeast Africa, according to Jessica Sargalis, the B-P physical therapist who also oversees the local Rise Against Hunger initiative, along with community member (and Sargalis’ father) Samuel Jackling.

“A lot of meals go to schools, which gives hungry kids an extra incentive to attend,” Sargalis said. “That’s where we saw a good connection. Kids helping kids. From our little corner of the world to theirs.”

Thirty-three cents buys one meal, consisting of a rice packet, soy, dried vegetables and a vitamin pack. And the amount of money B-P students raise Jan. 27-31 determines how many meals volunteers will pack on Feb. 9.

“It’s a really fun day,” Sargalis said. “We hit a big gong for every 1,000 meals packed. There’s music. And everybody is working together.”

To drum up as many pennies as possible (nickels, dimes and quarters also gratefully accepted), Sargalis provides assorted incentives. For students in grades pre-K through 5, every classroom that raises $33 (100 meals), will earn an extra recess. Those who raise $75 get an extra recess and a movie. A class that collects $150 or more earns an extra recess, movie and sledding party.

For middle and high school students, there are grade-level challenges. The class that collects the most money during lunch periods next week wins a sledding party.

Middle and high school students have also been raising money through their existing clubs or teams by selling sponsor cards. (Think of the cards you can buy and sign at local businesses to support a charity that are then displayed on a window or wall.) Sales at a recent basketball game brought in more than $500, Sargalis said.

Community members interested in volunteering to package meals on Feb. 9 should sign up online. Individuals can also support the community’s fundraising efforts by making a donation online. Anyone who wants to donate by check can make it payable to BPCSD, with Rise Against Hunger in the memo line, and mail or drop it off at any school or district office.