INVERNESS, Fla.–What’s better than a party? A party with a kingdom purpose.
More than 65 members of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Inverness gathered on a recent Service Saturday for a meal packing party to put together meals to help feed hungry children in its community and beyond.
The result: 15,000 meals packed in just two hours.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 34 million people, including nine million children, in America are food insecure. Although this is a staggering number, churches can directly reduce that number by hosting a meal packing party with One More Child.
“We at One More Child were delighted to host a meal packing party with our friends at Cornerstone Baptist Church. Our team provides all the supplies and training, and churches and organizations like Cornerstone can host fun and fast-paced events that make a difference in their community,” said Joanna LeMasters, director of initiative fulfillment for One More Child.
On Sunday morning after the meal packing party, the church stacked all 15,000 meals on its worship center stage and encouraged church families to grab some to share with individuals who needed food.
“We encouraged our church family to take some of the meals with them and to bless neighbors, coworkers or even people on the street who may need food,” Meahl said. “The response from our church family was great, and we’ve had more folks ask if they can take more of the food to give out.”
Cornerstone Baptist Church volunteers know they are feeding more than physical hunger as they seek to make a gospel impact with each meal that is shared.
Wanting the meals to make a difference beyond the church’s immediate community, a Cornerstone disaster relief team gave away the pre-packaged meals while serving in Hazard, Kentucky, after the devastating August floods.
“We took four cases of the packed food with us to Kentucky, and we were able to give out 672 servings of food to homeowners and their neighbors who were struggling to feed their families,” Meahl said. “In each of those instances, our team shared the gospel and prayed with homeowners.”
Whether it’s for disaster relief or community needs, Cornerstone leaders are confident that the 15,000 meals will continue to “fuel ministry” for many years to come.
“We plan on giving the pre-packaged meals out until they are gone, and then we will pack more,” Meahl said. “We continue to make the meals available to our church family to take as they need or as they see a need arise. We also plan on having the meals available at future events we host.”
“Participating in the meal packing party certainly helps people belong to a bigger purpose in the kingdom, both through serving and creating relationships with others at Cornerstone,” Meahl said. “As folks grow in their faith, we pray they would share with others and be generous. We want to resource our church members to be able to do that.”
Beyond the meal packing party, Cornerstone lives out a heart of service and outreach to its community.
The church regularly participates in random acts of kindness throughout Inverness, wrapping Christmas gifts in partnership with the Citrus County Family Resource Center, partnering with the Inverness Citrus Pregnancy Center, providing meals for local schoolteachers, and walking alongside other local churches.
The church also is seeking to reach families in its community by providing meals for the Citrus High School football team before every home game, supporting various Little League teams, and providing bags of food for students over long holiday breaks.
“If being hungry is a barrier to getting a good education, coming to church or hearing the gospel—we want to be part of the solution,” Meahl said.