New Hope Church Packs 41,000 Meals for Children in Haiti
If you were at New Hope church in Fulton, Md., several weeks ago, you might have noticed a bit of commotion. People yelling, “1, 2, 3, 4!” with drill-sergeant-like vigor. Frantic calls for “Bags! Bags! We need more bags!!!” The hauling and emptying of 50-pound bags of rice, soy protein, dehydrated vegetables and powdered vitamin/seasoning packets into bins on tables lining the hall of the church.
Story by Caryn Wooster / Photos by Hearly Mayr
This crazy, fun-filled and productive scene was part of the No Child Hungry meal-packing event organized by the church's S.O.S. International ministry. In five hours, more than 200 volunteers packed 41,875 meals — an extra push beyond the original commitment to pack 30,000. The meals are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and contain the nutrition a starving child needs, including 21 minerals and vitamins along with soy protein, vegetables and rice.
No Child Hungry, an outreach program of My Neighbor’s Children, supplied all the food and packing materials, as well as a truck and driver to haul the meals back to Florida, where the organization — which works domestically and in Honduras and Haiti — is based. The food New Hope packed will go on to Haiti, where church members have gone on a number of mission trips to an orphanage.
Young and old worked side by side at the Chesapeake Conference church in a seamlessly smooth, production-line operation that had a job for everyone: Scooping each of the four bag ingredients; holding bags at the funnel cone; weighing and measuring (385-390 grams precisely); sealing bags; packing, hauling, sealing and labeling boxes; and even more. Hoots and hollers were heard whenever a table completed another box of 36 meals. The clock ticked and pressure mounted as Dave Wooster yelled out how many meals were packed and the number yet to be done before the next shift of volunteers arrived.
William Lowry of My Neighbor’s Children came to direct the event. In a later email, he thanked New Hope for its ministry. "Having been around church all my life, I can clearly state that a wonderful heart of mission is not only evident for an event like this, but it is truly a part of New Hope's DNA,” he said. “It was exciting for us to be there."
My Neighbor’s Children brings these packing events to businesses and organizations with a minimum commitment of 25,000 meals. Fifty people can pack more than 10,000 meals in less than two hours, and meals only cost $0.30 each, which also covers most shipping expenses. For more information, visit www.myneighborschildren.org.