Members of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Chester were busy on a Sunday morning making a difference in many lives — lives they wanted to help change in some way.
It was a Village News article that prompted the small church to say “let’s do that.” Robin Eckman, church member, led the effort, with the Stop Hunger Now Organization, to feed people in underprivileged areas of the world.
Stop Hunger Now (Stophungernow.org) is a hunger relief organization that acts internationally to coordinate the distribution of food and life-saving aid all around the world. The goal of the organization is a world without hunger and their mission is to end hunger in this lifetime by providing food and other life-saving aid to the world’s most fragile populations. They work on this aim through a commitment to mobilize the necessary resources to make this happen.
The main way the Stop Hunger Now organization makes it all happen is through their meal packaging program. Stop Hunger Now provides volunteer groups the opportunity to package dehydrated, high protein, and highly nutritious meals that are used in crisis situations, and in school feeding programs at educational systems and orphanages in developing countries, around the globe.
Eckman said, “It was a good program for our church to be involved in; we were looking for a hands-on activity.” The church began a fund-raising campaign to collect the funds. The average meal through Stop the Hunger Now costs about 25 cents. So, the congregation set out to provide those meals by giving 25 cents for every meal.
“Symbolically, we asked everyone in our church to have breakfast, lunch and dinner with someone who needed the meals by putting the 25 cents away for each meal for a month.” Eckman shared. “So, 75 cents a day for a month-long period and we raised $875.”
Along with the $875 total, the group received other money from the Madeline Mumford Outreach Fund through St. John’s Church for a total of $2,875.
And, the members of St. John’s Episcopal Church were on their way to helping the needy — Eckman shared that most likely the meals will go to Haiti. Once the date was decided and all the details worked out with Stop Hunger Now, the church became mobilized to package the meals for the needy.
More than 80 adults and children showed up on a warm, bright sunny fall morning to setup the assembly line and package the meals. The Stop Hunger Now organization brings the trucks, the boxes, the bags to package the food and the 50-lb bags of rice and soy protein to get the process going.
The church was well represented with children as young as five years old and adults into their 80s working side-by-side to bring a change for the better to those less fortunate than themselves.
There were smiles all around as the congregation worked efficiently to take the 50-lb sacks of rice and soy protein to the small pre-packed meals. It consisted of measuring the rice and protein out and placing it into smaller bags and then heat sealing the packages.
Eckman was grateful and proud to see the members of St. John’s Episcopal Church join together and rise to the challenge for others. Working together the group packaged more than 11,500 meals. Eckman said, “It was a great project.” The church hopes to do it again and would like to do it yearly.