Packing it in: Council of Churches revives meal effort

Proceeds will benefit the Feed My Starving Children nonprofit

The Haddonfield Council of Churches is picking up an old tradition of meal packing for Feed My Starving Children on Saturday, Nov. 18 and are looking for volunteers and sponsors. (Special to The Sun)

The Haddonfield Council of Churches will host a meal-packing event on Saturday, Nov. 18, at Haddonfield Middle School, the first since before COVID.

This year marks the eighth that the council has held the meal-packing event for the nonprofit Feed My Starving Children.

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“The way it works is if your town or church or school wants to have a packing event or mobile pack, you raise money, and Feed My Starving Children sends you ingredients,” said Roy “Chip” Chapman, team leader for the fundraiser. “Basically it’s dehydrated rice, soy and vitamins and vegetables, a formula designed specifically for malnourished kids. You raise money, they send you ingredients and you schedule a packing event.”

Volunteers of all ages and backgrounds are invited to donate and help prepare kits in two-hour shifts at the meal packing. There are also limited volunteer opportunities the night before to set up the event at the middle school.

“It’s a fun atmosphere,” Chapman noted. “There’ll be people ages 5 to 95 helping out from all types of backgrounds and it’s a fun atmosphere. There’s music playing – sometimes it gets a little competitive to see which groups can pack the most food.”

Since the Council of Churches started hosting the meal-packing event in 2013, the community has provided nearly two million kits, enough to feed 5,378 children every day for a year. Chapman wants the council to go beyone those numbers with meals packed during this year, when the goal is to pack 200,000 meals to feed 550 kids for one year.

Though that is a smaller goal than the council reached in 2018 and 2019 – 300,000 to 400,000 meal kits – Chapman explained that upon the event’s return from COVID, the cost per meal had risen from 24 cents per meal to 29.

To raise funds, the council teamed with the Markeim Arts Center on Oct. 8 to hold a Paint and Provide event where guests painted clay bowls to take home or to benefit Feed My Starving Children.

Chapman noted that once the meals are packed, they’re boxed and sent back to Feed My Starving Children, which chooses where to send them. That is usually wherever the need is greatest, and the destination will not be known until a few days after packing. In the past, meals have gone to kids in Haiti, Somalia and Ukraine.

To meet the goal of receiving supplies for 200,000 meal packs, the council will have to raise $60,000 in advance. Since each meal costs 29 cents, donations are appreciated.

A press release gives a breakdown of the impact donations can make:

  • 29 cents – 1 meal
  • $29 – 100 meals
  • $65 – 216 meals (one box of FMSC meals)
  • $106 – 365 meals – feeds one child for a year.
  • $424 – feeds one family for a year.
  • $2,255 – feeds one classroom of children for a year
  • $12,000 – feeds a village.

So far, $16,665 has been raised. Donations can be made online; checks or cash will be accepted. Checks should be to the Haddonfield Council of Churches; put the event number, 2311-229MI, on the check and reference FMSC in the memo line. The council is also seeking volunteers and sponsorships.

Hours for the Haddonfield meat packing are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. To volunteer or donate, visit
https://give.fmsc.org/Haddonfield.

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