St. Mary’s Packs 10,000 Meals for the Hungry
A group of 35 volunteers came together at St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church in Blowing Rock on Sunday afternoon, donned caps and gloves and packed 10,000 meals in the church’s parish hall. The meals, consisting of vitamins, dehydrated vegetables, textured soy protein and rice, will be delivered to schools, orphanages and disaster-relief projects around the world through the Raleigh-based organization Stop Hunger Now. Fr. Rick Lawler, rector of St. Mary’s, says the church has packed over 30,000 meals over the past several years because of Jesus’ words, “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.”
The volunteers, ranging in age from 9-78, included adult parishioners and high school and school-age children from the St. Mary’s youth program. Stop Hunger Now asks that participating churches provide not only the volunteers to package the meals, but also the money to purchase the food and supplies and ship the meals overseas.
Stop Hunger Now was organized 16 years ago to coordinate food and other aid to crisis-burdened areas around the world. Last year’s meals from St. Mary’s were sent to the Philippines following dangerous storms and flooding there.
Event coordinator Michelle Curry points out that Stop Hunger Now is a 5-star-rated charity, with the vast majority of its budget paying to actually feed the hungry, and very little going to administrative costs. Each meal costs about 30-cents, providing protein to prevent malnutrition and vitamins to combat blindness, while encouraging children to stay in school to be able to work their way out of poverty. The meals are distributed through organizations that have proven they can handle transportation, storage, and distribution challenges in 28 countries, including the U.S., while meeting stringent reporting criteria for accountability. The meal-packaging program is designed to educate participating churches and civic organizations about the problem of hunger here and abroad in an engaging and very personal manner, while feeding some of the one-and-a-half billion hungry people world-wide.