By SANDY PORTER
While many of us are making resolutions to take off a few pounds after over-indulging on desserts and holiday fare, many in our world do not have enough to eat. To help combat the problem of hunger, five Over the Mountain churches are working together to send 500,000 meals to children in lesser developed countries. Working through the hunger relief organization Stop Hunger Now, church members and volunteers from the community will meet at Canterbury United Methodist Church on Wednesday, Feb. 15 and Thursday, Feb. 16 between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. to package the meals.
The churches participating in this event are Saint Luke’s Episcopal, Vestavia Hills United Methodist, Saint Stephen’s Episcopal, Brookwood Baptist and Canterbury United Methodist.
“Our combined resources, both in volunteers and financially, will result in a tremendous accomplishment for the fight against hunger,” said Rachel Estes, outreach director at Canterbury United Methodist Church.
To accomplish the goal of 500,000 meals, the churches need volunteers from the community in addition to their own members. About 4000 volunteers are needed during the two-day period.
Everyone can help make a difference. Offering an opportunity for every age and skill level, this is a great project for Boy Scouts, garden clubs, classrooms, sports teams, Bible clubs, book clubs, supper clubs, families – anyone wanting to participate in a meaningful outreach project. Jobs involve everything from scooping dried food to lifting heavy boxes to sorting containers. Shifts are from one to two hours, and some shifts even offer childcare. Volunteers are asked to sign up in advance. Go to http://www.canterburyumc. org/stophunger or email Ellen Thomas at Ellen.Thomas@canterburyumc.org.
Stop Hunger Now launched its meal packaging program in 2005. The program perfected the assembly process that combines rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and a flavoring mix including 21 essential vitamins and minerals into small meal packets. Each meal costs only 25 cents. The food stores easily, has a shelf life of five years and transports quickly.
This will be the second year Canterbury has hosted a Stop Hunger Now event. Last year, 142,560 meals were packed in 12 hours, enough to fill an entire shipping container. These meals provided school children in Honduras with food for an entire month.
“We are very excited about increasing the number of meals we are packaging this year,” Estes said, “and are confident that, with the help of our generous community, we can accomplish this goal.”
If you cannot volunteer in February but would like to make a donation, email Rachel Estes at Rachel.Estes@ canterburyumc.org or call 871-4695.