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Packing Meals to Stop Hunger

By Nancy Ryan

In 2011 a mission experience in our local school gym honored our Lord Jesus Christ, brought glory to God, and strengthened our bonds and witness in the Mohawk Valley of upstate New York. Nearly 200 volunteers, ages four to 84, gathered and packaged more than 25,000 meals with the support and guidance of the Stop Hunger Now meal-packaging program.

Stop Hunger Now was established in 1998 to bring hunger relief to the world. (Please take a look at their website, www.stophungernow.org, for much more information.) In February 2011, I participated in a meal-packaging event while at the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators conference. I cannot begin to tell you how satisfying it was to watch as the meals piled up. The strangers I worked with became partners in Christ and the world became a little less hungry.

Upon returning to the Mohawk Valley and sharing what I had experienced, some of my congregation said, "Can we do that?" That question launched the first annual Stop Hunger Now meal-packaging event in our area.

This year we will do it again, with a goal of $12,500 and 50,000 meals. We have expanded our venue to include the school gym in Canajoharie and expect to have at least 200 volunteers. Each team will package soy, dried vegetables, rice, and a vitamin packet and send it on to another team that will be weighing, sealing, and packing the meals. Eighty people can package 20,000 meals in two hours at the cost of 25 cents a meal!

We know that God was at work in some pretty amazing ways for us to pull off such a huge and successful event in such a short time (we had only eight weeks to plan our event). Last year's event left a huge impression on so many in our community. The idea quickly became a reality as so many from our community gave monetary donations and worked alongside one another with a common goal: to see to it that no one went to bed hungry! Can we do it? Absolutely!

Nancy Ryan is pastor of Reformed Church of Fort Plain in New York.

Posted 04/27/12

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