Rotary Pay it Forward Meal-Packing Event Hits its Goal: 120,000 Meals Packed for Haiti

A proud leadership team at the end of the day - Courtesy photo
A proud leadership team at the end of the day – Courtesy photo

Compiled by The Bedford Citizen

The Rotary Club of Bedford accomplished its goal of packing 120,000 meals at a mammoth event held at Middlesex Community College on Saturday, April 26. Working in three shifts Rotary members, families, scout troops, church youth groups and business people donned food service gloves and hairnets to measure and fill the six-serving packets. Rotarians Peter Colgan and Linda Cargiulo co-chaired the project, raising both the necessary funds and community awareness to assure success.

This year’s Pay it Forward project expanded on last year’s food packaging project where more than 14,500 meals were packed in a single afternoon at John Glenn Middle School. Read about last year’s event in The Bedford Citizen:

Bedford Rotarian Ralph Hammond visited Haiti several years ago and wondered why school children didn’t return after lunch. He discovered that because there was no school lunch program, afternoon classes were suspended because the children were too hungry and restless to learn. The meals packed in Bedford, a mixture of soy, rice, dried vegetables and vitamins, go into plastic bags complete with cooking instructions; each bag contains enough for six portions.

Partnering with Stop Hunger Now, an international relief organization based in Raleigh, NC, that has been combating  hunger through school lunch programs since 1998, Bedford Rotarians raised $30,000 and scheduled more than 1,000 volunteer hours to accomplish Saturday’s task.

With its own programs in Haiti, Middlesex Community College stepped forward to offer space on its Bedford campus to host the meal packing endeavor, and Stop Hunger arranged the logistics for the day.

Local organizations, individuals and businesses supported the endeavor: Astrum Solar Corp. Inc., BAE Systems, Bedford Rotary, Billerica Rotary, Bob and Carolyn Cassidy, Doubletree, Dracut Rotary, Flatbread, Integra Foundation, Jacquelin Apsler, Jim Harrill, Linda Cargiuolo, Middlesex Community College, Next Step Living, Northern Bank and Trust, Ralph Hammond, Scott and Loredana Griffith, ServPro, St. Paul’s Church, Sue and John Giurleo, Susanna Natti, Trader Joes, Westford Rotary, Westwood Rotary, and wTe Corporation.

Beyond the meals packed for Haiti, Saturday’s volunteers brought “carloads” of non-perishable foodstuffs that were brought to the Bedford Food Pantry late in the afternoon.

In appreciation, Rotary President Bob Cassidy noted  “What we had to do was to organize the funding, the people to do the actual packaging, and the happy energy to pull this off.”

The Rotary Club of Bedford is a service organization comprised of local professionals committed to the ideal of Service above Self. The Club meets at noon every Tuesday for lunch, an informational program and fellowship at the Doubletree Boston-Bedford Glen Hotel. Additional information is available at

Images from Saturday’s event, courtesy of the Bedford Rotary Club

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8 years ago

What was that song that they played from the 1980s that everyone was dancing to. Did you get a picture of that?

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