Written by Rev. Becky Brown
I'll never forget the first time I ever experienced a Stop Hunger Now meal packaging event. I had just completed my first year of seminary at Duke Divinity School and was serving as the youth minister at my home church in Durham. Our youth group was invited to participate in a Stop Hunger event at one of the other UMCs in the Durham district along with youth from dozens of other churches. Not knowing what to expect, I piled youth into vans and showed up. What I found was amazing. Hundreds of youth and adults were already in full swing packaging meals. We were ready to fulfill the next shift of service. As we took some time to take in the scene, were were all amazed at how quickly the group packaged 1000 meals! We watched as 4 youth worked together as a team in fluid motion. One held the bag, the second put in vegetables, the third dropped in a vitamin, and the fourth dumped in a cup of rice. Several others came to pick up the completed bags from each team and took them to be weighed. Once the weight was in the correct range, others vacuum sealed them, and then the bags were boxed up and taken to the truck. In a matter of minutes, the gong would sound to signify the whole fellowship hall had packaged 1000 meals and everyone cheered! The energy was electric.
When we got back to the church, the youth, counselors, and I attempted to unpack what we experienced at the stop hunger event. Each and every person came away with the same feeling. Together we had accomplished something great for God. We had followed Jesus's charge to feed the hungry of this world! I think the entire event packaged 100,000 meals that day, and those meals were sent to several countries around the world to help end hunger.
Ever since that day in 2007, I have felt compelled to organize and host a Stop Hunger Now meal packaging event. Participating in these moments together as the living Body of Christ is contagious, energizing, and invigorating. Since 2010, FUMC has been hosting a meal packaging event in the summer. This year we will be hosting two events since we have had growing numbers of people interested in participating. Those dates are Thursday, July 16 and August 2 from 5-8pm. We will eat a simple meal together from 5-6 and then begin working at 6pm. We will need to raise $8,700 total to pay for the cost of 30,000 meals that we will package over the 2 events. One of the greatest parts of this mission event is that everyone can participate no matter your age or ability. There's a job for anyone - age 3 to 103. Sign up to participate and donate to help stop world hunger. Who knows, you may even get a turn to ring the gong. See you there!