Cary Rotary Club Fights Hunger with Annual Chili Dinner

Children in Haiti enjoy a nutritious meal from Rise Against Hunger at school. Meals are distributed in some of the poorest countries in Africa, South America and Central America.

One simple meal can have a huge impact.

On Friday, Jan. 26, the Cary Rotary Club will raise money to fight hunger around the world and in our community with its 15th annual Chili Dinner.

“This isn’t a fundraiser for Rotary; all the proceeds go to hunger,” said Drew Rufty, public relations chair for the Cary Rotary Club.

The meals, consisting of chili, pasta salad and cornbread, are available for $8 each and will be prepared by Whole Foods Market. Lunch will be served from noon to 2 p.m. and dinner will be from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Kirk of Kildare Presbyterian Church, 200 High Meadow Dr. in Cary. Tickets are available at the door or from members of the Cary Rotary Club.

The civic group hopes to raise $44,000 from the event, with proceeds split among Rise Against Hunger (formerly known as Stop Hunger Now) and several local hunger relief groups. If the goal is met, nearly 100,000 meals will be sent to other countries, and more than $11,000 will help alleviate hunger in Wake County.

In the past 14 years, the event has raised more than $366,000.

Rod Brooks, the CEO of Rise Against Hunger, is a member of the Rotary Club of Cary, and he has helped energize the group year after year, Rufty says.

“We have Rod come in, and he does a presentation on how the funds were dispersed at Rise Against Hunger,” he said. “We can see and feel how that contribution has a direct impact on these impoverished communities. For us that’s really exciting.”

Rise Against Hunger’s mission is to end hunger in by providing food and life-changing aid to the world’s most vulnerable people. Internationally most of the group’s meals are served in schools, which encourages attendance and supports literacy. Meals are also served at job training programs and medical facilities.

“It’s amazing what they can do with the amount of money they’re given,” said Rufty. “It’s something we feel passionate about, helping them out and doing what we can to provide hunger relief worldwide.

“We also know there are needs here locally, and there are people out there in our neighborhoods who are struggling.”

Local hunger relief groups helped by the annual chili dinner over the past 14 years include the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, Meals on Wheels, Dorcas Ministries, Wake Relief, Brown Bag Ministry, Catholic Parish Outreach, Interact of Wake County and Read & Feed.

For more information, visit the Cary Rotary Club website.

Last year’s Cary Rotary Club Chili Dinner raised nearly $28,000 for hunger relief.

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