It all started back on April 25th 2013, Global Pay It Forward Day. The Rotary Club of Bedford’s first  “Pay It Forward Day”, a day for random acts of kindness, culminated with a meal packaging event in partnership with Stop Hunger Now, an international hunger relief agency founded in 1998. 14,904 meals bound for schools and orphanages in Haiti and Zambia were packaged in just two hours by a diverse army of volunteers in the gymnasium of the John Glenn Middle School.
In 2014, Rotary set its goals much higher, adding Middlesex Community College and BSC Engineering to their partnership. That year our club raised enough money, and gathered enough volunteers to package 130,000 meals. In 2015, with our partnerships still intact, we packaged a comparatively modest 48,000 meals. This effort has continued each year and at the end of our 2019 packaging event we had raised $118,826 and packaged 412,372 meals for needy kids around the world.
Rotary’s partner Stop Hunger Now has changed their name to Rise Against Hunger. It is a North Carolina based nonprofit group that coordinates the packaging and distribution of food through schools, with ongoing hot lunch programs. Founded in 1998, it has shipped and distributed in excess of 531,736,102 meals to 78 countries and has earned a Charity Navigator rating of 95.6 out of 100.
Mindful of the needs of less fortunate families right here in Bedford, each year the event has been held packaging volunteers have been asked to bring with them non-perishable food items which were delivered to the Bedford Food Pantry and most recently the Middlesex Community College Food Pantry.
Rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables, and spice flavorings are the ingredients in each meal package. This is blended with local spices and meats at the destination schools where the meals will be served.
But generosity is the essential ingredient needed to make this effort successful.  A meager 33‑cents is all it takes to pay for the ingredients in one meal.  A single $1.00 bill buys more than three meals. The Rotary Club of Bedford goal this year is to raise $14,850 to obtain the meal ingredients needed to reach our 45,000 meal goal.  That’s the focus of our outreach to businesses, organizations and individuals.  The generosity behind every dollar contributed counts for another 3+ meals
BAE Systems and Anika Therapeutics are major corporate sponsors who also used the event to bring their employees together to support a good cause in a fun environment. In addition, the event received financial support from fundraising events sponsored by Ken’s NY Deli and Flatbread, as well as the Rotary Clubs of Bedford, Concord, Burlington Breakfast, Burlington Lunch, and Tewksbury as well as a number of private individuals. 
One of the most amazing results of the event is the impact this program has had on our community of Bedford. It helps bring the community together to help those in need right here in Bedford through the food pantries and of course around the world by the Rise Against Hunger effort. It has a special impact on our Bedford kids - they are so amazed that THEY are making a difference!