By Judy Tott, Americus First UMC
On a Saturday morning in September, Americus First United Methodist Church’s fellowship hall was filled with volunteers, excited to begin work. Everyone donned their red hairnets and waited with anticipation for instructions to begin the project of the day: preparing 10,000 high-protein, vitamin-rich meals for hungry people around the world.
It was like a hive of busy bees as assembly lines formed. Stations for measuring rice, beans, dried vitamins and flavoring into a funnel and then a plastic bag were manned. Filled bags were then taken by runners to weighing stations and then to stations where the bags were sealed. The sealed bags were packed into large boxes and hand carried to a large truck in the parking lot, ready to be shipped to countries around the world to feed hungry children in schools and orphanages.
Loud cheers and clapping filled the fellowship hall as a large gong was struck after every 1,000 meals were packaged and ready to ship. Two hours later, 70 volunteers between the ages of 3 and 87 had packaged 10,050 dried meals!
“This was something that everyone, from small children to older members, could participate in,” said Lyn Dozier, Americus First UMC’s missions committee chair. “Everyone who participated had a wonderful experience. The hands-on experience was just wonderful. We came together to help other people and it was such a good experience that we’re going to do it again this year and double the number of meals.”
Stop Hunger Now is a 501(c)(3) non-governmental, international relief agency , headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., that has been fulfilling its commitment to end hunger for more than 14 years. Their mission is to provide food and lifesaving aid to the world’s most destitute and hungry in the most efficient, effective and sustainable manner.
Stop Hunger Now created its meal packaging program in 2005. Since then more than 100,000 volunteers have packaged nearly 30 million meals to feed the worlds impoverished. The program perfected the assembly process that combines rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and a flavoring mix including 21 essentials and minerals into small meal packets. Each meal costs only 25 cents to create. The food stores easily, has a long shelf-life, and transports quickly. Stop Hunger Now primarily ships its meals to support school feeding programs, but also provides meals to our in-country partners for crisis relief. For more information, visit www.stophungernow.org.