The community came together for the annual meal-packaging.
Matanzas High School senior Caleb Krassner said he knows what it feels like to go hungry. He’s in a healthier place now, but he said he previously restricted food because of self-esteem issues. The experience helped him empathize with the mission behind the school’s annual Rise Against Hunger event, where students and community members came together to package over 14,000 meals for the hungry around the world.
“I’ve gone through periods of my life where I’ve almost starved myself — just because I’ve never felt body confident,” Krassner said. “And I know that’s completely different than what people are going through because they don’t have access to food. But I do share that understanding of what hunger actually feels like, and it’s not fun. It makes you feel sick to your stomach; you feel miserable and unable to do anything.” He said he wouldn’t want anyone to feel that way if it can be helped.
Krassner, MHS Interact Club president, was one of over 70 volunteers who joined together in the MHS cafeteria the afternoon of Saturday, May 18, to package meals for Rise Against Hunger, an international nonprofit that coordinates food packaging and deliveries to those in need.
“Rise Against Hunger is really important to me because I’m carrying on a tradition from last year’s president, Erin,” Krassner said. “She initiated this event at our high school, and I wanted to follow in her footsteps.”
Interact Club sponsor Thomas De Ceglie couldn’t be more proud of his students.
“I joke with them and let them know that I have the best job in the world because I get to stay in high school the rest of my life, whereas they get to go out in the world and do things,” De Ceglie said. “But before they go out into the world, they get to do something for the world right now. It’s fantastic. I love watching them grow and become leaders. Even though I’m here, they’re all taking the initiative and they’re doing this.”
De Ceglie said there were about 20 more volunteers this year than at last year’s event. It’s a community effort, he said, as volunteers included members of the MHS Interact Club, Leo Club and Key Club, the Flagler Palm Coast High School Interact Club, Habitat for Humanity members, Old Kings Elementary School Early Act students and Home Depot employees.
“This event is wholesome, and it makes you feel warm inside that you’re helping others,” Krassner said.
Early Act OKES third-grader Penelope McDonald said she’s happy to help people.
“We’re trying to help save the world and stop world hunger,” she said.