Stetson Baptist Church in DeLand made a tangible difference in the fight against hunger this month by packing 57,000 meals for hungry children at home and abroad through the organization Feeding Children Everywhere.
“The mission of our church is to love God and love people…that is what God has called us to be and to do and we want to do that at home and internationally,” said administrative and discipleship pastor, Brad Gwartney.
Feeding Children Everywhere is a non-profit organization committed to providing healthy meals to those in need.
The church partnered with Feeding Children Everywhere to host a hunger project on the church’s campus. It started with students and staff from Stetson Baptist Christian School packing 22,000 meals during the day. “Then church members came back that night and packed some more,” said Gwartney for a total of 57,000 meals.Hunger projects are meal packing events that are designed to be fun and efficient. The hunger project host provides the venue, tables and volunteers and the organization provides hairnets, food, packaging and other resources. One of the more interesting parts of the project is that the host gets to pick where the food goes.
“We wanted to have local and international distribution,” said Gwartney. “So, we sent some of the food to Open Door Haiti and another to the local food pantry at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church.”
The food included in the packages was a combination of seasoning and lentils to make red lentil jambalaya. Feeding Children Everywhere has six different meals to choose from that are healthy and easy to make.
Local community businesses were involved in sending volunteers and sponsoring the event like Dollar General, Chick-Fil-A and Mainstreet Bank among others. “We wanted to allow people from outside the church to use this as a community service project for their organization as well.”
Hunger project hosts should also have a budget for the project. According to Gwartney each meal prepared cost the church about 27 cents. “When you help people see that each meal is only 27 cents, which is not an exuberant cost, they find it reasonable.”
It was the church’s first time hosting a hunger project and the packing event which was supposed to last an hour, ended in about 45 minutes. “We had over 250 people show up to help that night, we had more than we needed, and we just added them to the lines.”
Feeding Children Everywhere is based out of Orlando. For more information and to organize a hunger project visit feedingchildreneverywhere.com