As reported in the August 23, 2013 issue of the Bull Run Observer
By GAIL WILLIAMS
These were among the about 80 people of all ages, including families, at St. Thomas United Methodist Church April 26 who worked for two hours after church to package 10,000 meals to be shipped to another country through the Stop Hunger Now organization.
Stopping hunger is an important focus for St. Thomas United Methodist Church in Manassas. On Sunday, April 26, members gathered to package 10,000 meals to be shipped to another country.
David Forrest, the senior pastor, said Stop Hunger Now is a non-profit based in Raleigh, NC.
With help from churches and other organizations around the country, Stop Hunger Now provides nutritious meal packages that are shipped internationally. Under the leadership of his wife, Nancy Forrest, the church raised the money to make the packages.
They received the 50-pound bags of the ingredients and the supplies needed to mix and package the meals. The ingredients are mixed, poured into zip-lock bags and boxed up for shipping.
“Each meal is pretty cheap,” said Forrest. “[The mixture] looks a little like oatmeal but it’s mostly rice with high-protein and flavoring mix. You just add water and cook it.”
According to the Stop Hunger Now website, the package, which costs only 25 cents, contains rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and a flavoring mix which includes 21 essential vitamins and minerals.
Forrest said the youth group had previously volunteered for this mission. “This time we had about 80 people of all ages, including families, who worked for two hours after church. Someone rang a gong each time we got to one thousand.”
They don’t find out where their boxes went until much later. In this case, Forrest learned in late July that theirs went to Zimbabwe.
Ten thousand packages sounds like a lot but, said Forrest, “It isn’t that much. It’s a drop in the bucket [toward what is needed].”
Asked why St. Thomas participates in this mission, Forrest responded, “There’s a lot in the Bible about feeding the hungry, especially in Matthew 25:35, but even in the Old Testament. We try to do that.”
St. Thomas United Methodist Church is located at 8899 Sudley Road, Manassas. Its Haymarket campus meets at Gravely Elementary School in Haymarket. Visit stthomasumc.org or call 703-361-5161.