While 1.02 billion people are undernourished and 23,483 die of starvation or preventable disease per day in the world, according to Food and Agriculture statistics on Change This World’s website, there are those who are trying to make a difference by decreasing those numbers.
Three local churches worked together to raise $25,000 and pack 100,000 meals to help some of those families for CTW, a nonprofit organization aiming to help feed those who are malnourished or starving around the globe.
“It’s a very simple thing,” CTW event coordinator Meaghan Crump, of the Orlando, Fla., office, said of the project. “An easy way for people to get involved.”
It’s not just about giving money or preparing and packing the meals for a few hours, it’s about making “a direct impact,” she said.
At least 300 volunteers arrived at East Side Church of God, 2600 E. Fifth St., early Sunday morning to begin packing 80,000 meals of rice, soy, veggies and vitamins blend for families in Ethiopia and Somalia, Crump said.
East Side Church of God did the project for the first time last year and packed 50,000 meals that went to Uganda and Haiti, said Eastside youth and missions minister Mark Shaner.
“We thought we could do better than that,” he said.
So the church got Parkview Church of the Nazarene and Catalyst Church in Pendleton involved.
Another 100 volunteers were at Parkview, 911 S. Rangeline Road, in the afternoon to pack an additional 20,000 meals.
Money was collected “through several different creative ways” — such as selling T-shirts or asking kids to fill M&M tubes with quarters, Crump said.
The powdered meals cost 25 cents each and feed up to a family of six, and Crump said they send out containers with 200,000 meals in them.
“They can turn them (the containers) into clinics or a house,” she said. “You name it.”
The rest of the container’s meals will come from a packing event in Vincennes, Ind., and a warehouse, Crump said.
“Food is just the way in” to the communities to help with schools and orphanages and other projects, she said.
“We see this as a way to build community, build relationships,” she said.
Parkview volunteer Brandy Blair said she’s always wanted to assist those suffering from hunger and has done other things out in the community to do so.
It’s easy to pitch in a little money or time, she said.
What really got to her was a story in church of a woman in Somalia who left her house on foot with her four children to escape the civil war and famine.
Two of those children died, but the woman had to keep going for her surviving children.
“I can’t imagine losing two kids,” Blair said. “I can get in the car and in two minutes be at McDonald’s.”
Her son, Jacob Blair, a student at Pendleton Heights Middle School, said he was having a good time while working for a good cause.
“It’s a good way to help people ...,” he said, “and it’s not hard, either.”
He said it was important to help provide nutrients to people in countries with famine so that they can survive.
“We have so much stuff here in the USA,” he said. “They’re struggling in Africa.”
East Side Church of God is also collecting cans to give to local food pantries “for the needs of Anderson,” Shaner said.
Right now they have over 4,000 cans, but by the end of the month plan to have 5,000, he said.
Contact Dani Palmer: 640-4847, firstname.lastname@example.org