PHILADELPHIA, April 29 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of a nationwide effort to get nutritious food to the starving people of earthquake-ravaged Haiti, The Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia (www.salvationarmyphiladelphia.org) will partner with Drexel University, the PA National Guard and Numana Inc to host a city-wide Million Meals for Haiti event Friday, May 21 and Saturday, May 22 at the State Armory at Drexel University, 33rd Street between Market and Arch Streets, officials announced today.
Mayor Michael Nutter called on business and civic leaders to get behind the effort to amass the 5,000 volunteers needed to assemble and package the meals, which are specially designed to boost the immune systems of malnourished people.
"There is still tremendous hunger amongst the people of Haiti who have no means to earn wages and buy food," said Major Jorge Diaz, director of operations for The Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia. "The Salvation Army is in a unique position to assist, and we have been holding similar efforts in cities across the country."
The Salvation Army has had a presence in Haiti since 1950, and currently operates schools, clinics, a hospital, feeding programs, children's homes and church-related activities through 60 community centers across the country. Since the devastating earthquake on January 12, 2010, The Salvation Army has distributed more than 8.5 million meals in Haiti and will continue to do so over the next six to nine months. In order to meet the demand, meal packing events have been held in cities including Chicago, Kansas City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Wichita.
"We have seen time and time again the generosity of Philadelphians in a time of need," said Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. "I urge all of you to organize your workers, your houses of worship, your school groups and civic groups, to support this vital effort."
The Salvation Army has already had local companies large and small step up to provide volunteers. UPS, for one, developed and donated a system to track the delivery of meals to Haiti, and will have hundreds of local employees involved.
"UPS is proud to mobilize our employees and their families to assist in The Salvation Army Million Meals for Haiti project," said Rosemary Turner, vice president and chief operating officer, Chesapeake District, of UPS. "UPS has been working with The Salvation Army since January to deliver food, water and other emergency supplies, and together we are making a difference."
Numana, Inc. is an international hunger relief organization with the mission of empowering people to save the starving. It organizes large-scale packaging events at which volunteers prepare meals to be shipped to a country in need. Its board of directors includes former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole and former U.S. Senator George McGovern. In addition to partnering with The Salvation Army World Service Organization on numerous projects, Numana has also partnered with Food for Children, Stop Hunger Now, OutReach Africa, and Universities Fighting Word Hunger.
An army of volunteers totaling more than 5,000 is needed to help assemble and package the meals. Individuals (11 years of age and older), families, and corporate, school, church, and community groups are encouraged to volunteer as meal packagers for at least one two-hour shift. Each packing station consists of 12-14 volunteers. Shifts begin Friday, May 21 at noon, and Saturday, May 22 at 9 am.
Each meal consists of rice, soy protein, freeze-dried vegetables, and 21 vitamins and minerals. Once delivered to Haiti, the meals will be distributed by Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services teams on the ground.
The Salvation Army's relief effort in Haiti is its largest international relief effort since the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2005. The United Nations has designated The Salvation Army as the lead agency responsible for the care of more than 20,000 people made homeless by the earthquake and now living near the Army's main compound in Port-au-Prince. The Salvation Army is working with the Haitian government, the U.S. military, FEMA, the United Nations, other NGOs and its corporate partners to implement a broad response to the tragedy, and the 700 Salvation Army officers and staff permanently stationed in Haiti have been joined by more than 40 disaster response workers from the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and other countries.
To volunteer for the Million Meals for Haiti event, please register online at www.SalvationArmyPhiladelphia.org.
About The Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia:
The Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia is a faith-based, comprehensive human service organization whose programs help individuals, families and whole communities lead healthier, safer and more productive lives. The Salvation Army strives to do the most good possible with the resources entrusted to it, spending 91 cents of every dollar directly on programs and services that help those who are most in need. The Army is equipped to respond to both acute disasters such as fires and floods as well as the daily, ongoing struggles of the region's less fortunate individuals. With a 130-year record of accomplishment, the Army's track record of success stems from its holistic approach to providing for the needs of the whole individual and family -- physically, emotionally, economically and spiritually. The Army's programming operates from 26 community centers and residential facilities throughout the five-county Philadelphia region offering shelter, life skills, hot meals, counseling, early childhood development, recreation and sports, music and arts programs, after-school educational programs, job training, activities for older adults, opportunities for spiritual development, drug rehabilitation, and much more. For more information, please visit www.SalvationArmyPhiladelphia.org.
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SOURCE The Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia