Volunteers moved to the beat of high-engery music blaring from the speakers while they packed meals for hungry people in Haiti at a recent event sponsored by Connect Christian Church of Concord.
Volunteers combined a scoop of dehydrated vegetables, a scoop of vitamin powder, a cup of rice and a cup of soy in a plastic bag at the Feed the Hungry meal-packing event at the Cabarrus Arena and Events Center.
Matt Collins with Lifeline Christian Mission, the organization that will deliver the meals to Haiti, said that each bag would provide enough food for six meals once it is cooked in boiling water. The special formula of nutrients and vitamins in each meal will provide about 75 percent of a child’s daily nutrition requirements.
“They can use it to make a soup or a sticky rice dish, depending on their preferences,” he said.
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Some of the assembly stations were manned by specific churches or civic organizations but others had a mix of people who just wanted to help. At one of those tables, Stacy Kuhl and her family from Connect Christian Church were busy working beside Joe Falk from Cold Springs United Methodist Church.
When asked which church he represented, Falk said, “we are one big church here, denomination doesn’t matter. As long as it feeds the people of Haiti, that is all that matters.”
Volunteers in the groups threw their hands into the air and erupted into cheers each time a box was filled with 36 of the meal bags and taped shut.
Charles Gregory, volunteer coordinator, said it was the second meal-packing event held by the church. “The first time, in 2013, we filled one container, about 285,000 meals,” he said. “This year, we wanted to fill two containers,” he said.
By inviting churches and individuals from across the community to join in this year, organizers met their goal. During the two-day event on Oct. 30-31, about 3,500 volunteers packed 572,000 meals. Gregory said there were no age restrictions, and children who were too young or too bored to put meals together were encouraged to color on the boxes that the meals would be delivered in.
In addition to the international effort to stave off starvation and malnutrition in Haiti, the volunteers donated 4,000 pounds of canned goods and packaged food for the Cooperative Christian Ministries to help those in need locally.
Gregory said it will probably take two years to build up the funds to host another meal-packing event because it costs about $114,048 – comes from many sponsors and donors – to pack the meals for two containers.
Marty Price is a freelance writer: email@example.com