Cabarrus

Sandwiches for the homeless

Each month, eight Moss Creek couples take turns hosting a dinner club. But last month, instead of indulging in food for themselves, they all spent the evening making peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches.

No, it wasn't for their children's school lunch boxes. It was the clever idea of Katie Pacetti, who wanted to do a service project for The Urban Ministry Center. She decided to recruit her dinner club friends to get involved.

"Everyone was excited," Pacetti said. "I sent out a note before they came to let them know what we were doing. ...

"We decided to make it fun by having a little competition. With husbands against wives and 30 minutes to make the sandwiches, we made about 150."

Pacetti heard about Operation Sandwich while volunteering for Room in the Inn. Both are programs of The Urban Ministry Center.

The center needs 800 sandwiches per day, and volunteers can use Operation Sandwich as a way of supporting the effort. Room in the Inn coordinates colleges and various congregations that open their buildings to provide shelter and food for homeless people.

"I was teaching middle school at the time, and we participated in serving a meal to the homeless at one of the Room in the Inn locations," she explained. "It was such a neat opportunity for my students and me. Our church choir at Hickory Grove Baptist Church also participates in Operation Sandwich."

The couples made what is usually a tedious chore into a fun event.

"Each person had a responsibility, such as peanut butter spreader, jelly spreader, runner for extra supplies, quality checker," Pacetti said. "Since it was a competition, we wanted to make sure they were well-made and not sloppy."

After all the sandwiches were made, they had to get them to the people who needed them the most. That's where the Pacetti children stepped in.

Six-year-old Josh and 4-year-old Julia Madison gladly took over.

"Our kids helped us deliver the sandwiches," Pacetti said. "They were so excited to go. They are well aware of helping the less fortunate and love to do it."

Pacetti and her family volunteer to another ministry called Kids Against Hunger.

"They host monthly packing events at schools, businesses and churches," she said. "Teams form assembly lines packing highly nutritious, dehydrated meals that are shipped to feed starving children all over the world."

You can find out about them at www.kidsagainsthungercharlotte.com.

For information about Operation Sandwicht, visit www.urbanministrycenter.org or contact the kitchen manager, 704-926-0602, to schedule your donation.

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