Meridian, Miss. Scores of locals rolled up their sleeves Thursday to help fight hunger. With hair nets in place, and cups for scooping in hand, 80 volunteers from more than a half dozen churches and organizations turned out Thursday at Jubilee Mennonite Church in Meridian to package 20-thousand meals. It was part of the Stop Hunger Now Initiative. Based out of Raleigh, North Carolina, the agency also has an office in Jackson.
This is the fourth year that Jubilee Mennonite Church has sponsored a local effort to package meals for Stop Hunger Now.
"We packaged 2.3 million meals out of Jackson last year," says Pat Ware, who is the assistant program manager for the Jackson office for Stop Hunger Now. "We're planning to do about that much this year, and it's all run by volunteers."
"It's been an exciting way to put a face of God's love to this neighborhood, and the world," says Anita Wansley with Jubilee Mennonite Church.
Each of the packages packs a powerful punch. Filled with ingredients for a rice casserole, each pack contains six servings which include 21 vitamins and minerals.
"These are going to go to school feeding programs, orphanages all over the world where they're able to eat and go to school, and be educated in other ways as well," says Ware.
Stop Hunger Now also provides meals to people in need during disaster relief efforts in the U.S.
During the two hour period of packaging, a gong was hit each time a certain milestone was reached.
"We're averaging about a thousand meals every ten minutes. So, I think that we're going to make our goal for two hours for today," says Wansley.
Organizers say it was two hours of the volunteers time, that will have an impact on the recipients that will last a lifetime.
The Stop Hunger Now initiative was established in 1998. Over the years it has provided millions of meals to people in more than 65 countries. To find out how your church or organization can get involved log on to stophungernow.org or call 1-888-501-8440.