It starts with a meal: Rise Against Hunger

May 9, 2024 / Christine Coddington

At Eastern Mennonite School (EMS), the core value of service isn’t just a standalone concept; it’s woven into every facet of education throughout our K-12 curriculum. It’s not just about teaching subjects; it’s about nurturing values that extend beyond the confines of the classroom. Students at EMS, not only learn but also embody empathy, compassion, and responsibility. This integration ensures that service isn’t a separate entity but an integral part of the learning experience, nurturing a community where the well-being of others, both locally and globally.

Clubs such as Model UN, We Serve, and SCO (student council organization) drive service in extracurricular activities at EMS.  About a year ago, Model UN club attended an event where they were introduced to Rise Against Hunger(RAH), a non-profit committed to ending hunger globally. The encounter ignited a spark within high school students Lucas Pou and Adam Rhodes, planting a seed for future endeavors in service.

It wasn’t until recently in AP World History that students observed a moment of silence for those who lost their lives in Gaza. This solemn occasion stirred a deep sense of discomfort in Lucas and Adam, prompting them to reflect on ways to address global issues. As Adam put it, “It feels uncomfortable to hear about things like this because of the role we play in these problems. By not making an effort to make the world a better place, we hold some responsibility for its condition.”

Driven by a newfound sense of responsibility, Lucas and Adam partnered with RAH to organize a community service event. Their partnership with RAH enabled EMS to contribute meaningfully to the fight against global hunger by planning a hands-on meal packaging event. Their coordination made it possible for small communities like EMS to make a real difference in the lives of people who need it. Lucas and Adam spearheaded this community service endeavor, rallying support and raising $4,100 through generous contributions to fund the event’s supplies.  “ We hope that this can become a yearly tradition that will help us do our part in making the world a better place as human beings who are part of a larger human family.” -Lucas 

May 1st arrived with great excitement. The Eastern Mennonite School student volunteers gathered in the dining hall, assembling meal bags comprising rice, soy, and beans in an efficient assembly-line setup. With almost 100 individuals across two shifts, a remarkable 10,000 meals were packaged, feeding 47 children for a full year. The meals packed that day are headed to Uganda. Uganda hosts a large number of refugees, many of whom rely on food assistance to meet their daily nutritional needs. The Global Hunger Index, which assesses food insecurity based on indicators that measure undernourishment and undernutrition, estimates that Uganda has a “serious” level of hunger. The partnership between RAH and students Lucas and Adam has made a difference on a global scale. 

Thank you 

 “Just in like 2 hours and 15 minutes we have made such a big impact and I think it really goes to show how much of a difference our community can be together.  And I’m just really proud of you guys for stepping out of your comfort zone and taking an opportunity that is unique.  And we want to thank Rise Against Hunger for …really helping us out. The faculty and staff, in every way, supported us. Thanks to our world history teacher, Nathan Hershberger, for taking the time to inspire his students to care about what’s happening in the world. Thanks to both our principal, Mr. King, and our math teacher, Mrs. Lawson, for their support and encouragement. Thanks to the athletic department for being willing to sacrifice practice time for the event. Thanks to the advancement team for their advice on financials. Thanks to all the students willing to speak to churches and go door to door. Thanks to all the donors for their generous donations. Finally, thanks to all those who plan to attend the event on May 1st. The support we have received from our community has shown us how willing people are to help.” 

-Lucas and Adam

The EMS community embodies compassion and generosity, constantly giving their time to help others. They are always ready to step up. Serving as pillars of support and kindness, they are making a difference in the lives they serve. Lucas and Adam, thank you for exemplifying these qualities and for being a pillar in our EMS community.

Check out some more photos from this story

Posted in tagged:


  1. Claire de Brun on May 10, 2024 at 11:10 am

    Good work- Adam and Lucas are to be commended for their response to world hunger. EMS is to be commended for providing the educational environment and classroom culture that provide exposure to the world with its issues of suffering, injustice, and inequity, as well as pathways to respond generously and responsibly with a Christian perspective. EMS, along with Lucas and Adam’s vision and commitment, are exemplary of these words:

    “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8

Leave a Comment