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At Rise Against Hunger Experience meal packaging events, we hope our volunteers leave not only having packaged meals, but also feeling empowered to make a positive impact in the world and help end hunger. Wafa Al-Rimawi shares how she felt called to help and how her employer — our partner Becton, Dickinson and Company — and her family are involved in Rise Against Hunger’s mission.

I started volunteering with Rise Against Hunger in 2016 to help others and to find a way of giving back. I continue to stay involved because it is one of the greatest joys in life, to be able to help others in need.

When my son was a high school junior, he took on the challenge of raising funds to host a Rise Against Hunger Experience meal packaging event as a community service project. Once my son learned of the way that Rise Against Hunger empowered children to obtain an education by providing meals, he knew this was the organization he wanted to support. My employer, BD, matched the amount he raised, which collectively totaled what we needed to host the meal packaging event at the local middle school. Eighth-grade students, including my daughter, joined together with parents, teachers, staff and administrators to pack 10,152 meals. It was a real family affair.

I attribute my commitment to giving back to learning by example at an early age. My mother, one of the greatest people I ever knew, was selfless in the way she supported and showed kindness to others.  Through her, I understood how giving back could touch other people’s lives in a profoundly positive way. To be able to honor my mother by helping others is one of the most meaningful experiences of my life, and I hope that in some way my mother’s legacy lives on through my actions. Being part of Rise Against Hunger’s mission to end world hunger for the past several years, I am proud to have had an impact in empowering people of all ages, especially children.

Shortly after the successful meal packaging event at my daughter’s middle school, Rise Against Hunger invited me to serve on its Community Engagement Board in Kearny, NJ for its New York Metro Warehouse. In that role, I was able to obtain a better understanding of what it takes to prepare for and run a meal packaging event, and I also benefited from a broader understanding of the bigger-picture impact that Rise Against Hunger has on communities they serve around the world. In that role, I helped to coordinate a new fundraising event, which raised one of the highest profits earned from any Rise Against Hunger fundraising event nationwide for the entire 2019 year.

I am extremely fortunate to work for an employer that encourages volunteering and giving back. After seven years of inviting employees to join together in company-sponsored meal packaging events for Rise Against Hunger, BD reached an impressive milestone in 2020: Together, employees at more than a dozen locations had collectively packaged more than 1 million meals for people facing hunger. Due to my volunteer hours in service to Rise Against Hunger, I applied for the 2020 Becton Volunteer Impact Award — it is BD’s most prestigious award in recognition of employee volunteerism — and from a large pool of candidates, I was selected as a recipient. Not only was I recognized for my commitment and efforts, but BD made a generous donation to Rise Against Hunger in honor of my volunteer service.

When I started packing meals with Rise Against Hunger, I just wanted to help others. I never thought of being recognized for helping to make a difference in other’s lives. It is humbling and a true honor to be affiliated with Rise Against Hunger and to receive the 2020 Becton Volunteer Impact Award from BD.

We love to hear inspiring stories like Wafa’s and are happy to congratulate her on her award! Want to become a Hunger Champion, too? Check out ways to do so here!

Shared in Blog, Corporate Partners, Growing the Movement