As reported in the February 7, 2014 issue of the Bull Run Observer and the February 10, 2014 issue of the Manassas Observer

From Staff Reports

More than 100 volunteers gathered in the fellowship hall of St. Thomas United Methodist Church Jan. 12 and spent a little under two hours measuring, carrying, weighing, sealing and boxing up 20,000 nutritionally rich meal packets.

These will be distributed within the next six months to hungry and malnourished children and families through the world by an international hunger relief agency called Stop Hunger Now.

Since its inception 1998 by a United Methodist pastor, Ray Buchanan, the organization has coordinated the distribution of food and other lifesaving aid to children and families in countries all over the world.

Stop Hunger Now created its meal packing program in 2005. The program perfected the assembly processes that combines rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and a flavoring mix including 21 essential vitamins and minerals into small meal packets. Each meal costs 25 cents. The food stores easily, has a shelf life of two years and transports quickly. Stop Hunger Now works with international partners that ship and distribute the meals in-country.

The packaging operation is mobile enough to go wherever volunteers are located, and can be adapted to accommodate as few as 25 and as many as 500 volunteers at a time. One SHN packing event can result in the packing of more than one million meals. The use of volunteers for product packaging has resulted in an extremely cost effective operation while, at the same time, increasing awareness of global hunger and food insecurity issues.

Stop Hunger Now provides more than 70 percent of its meal to support transformational development programs such as school feeding programs, vocational training programs, early childhood development programs, orphanages, and medical clinics.

Every year Stop Hunger Now reserves 10 percent of its projected meals to respond right away to crisis situations including natural disasters, conflict and famine.

This mail packing event was the second such mission project held at St. Thomas UMC within the past year. Regardless of one’s age or physical strength, if you want to participate, there is a meal packing tast that you can do. 

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