Dawson packs meals to feed thousands worldwidecomment (0)
January 23, 2014
By Julie Payne
The goal was to pack enough meals in one day to feed 100,000 starving people around the world.
And that goal wasn’t just met; it was exceeded by 8,864 meals. Hundreds of volunteers took part in the Feed One Hungry Child event put on by Dawson Memorial Baptist Church, Birmingham, in conjunction with the Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) nonprofit organization.
According to Ben Hale, minister of evangelism and missions for Dawson, the meal-packing event was a part of a five-day emphasis at the church called GO BEYOND! During this emphasis, which included a missions fair and special guest speakers, Dawson members were challenged to serve in a variety of ways beyond the church’s walls.
Dawson first learned of FMSC through other local churches that had conducted similar events with the organization, Hale said. “Their results were positive, so we used it as an application of our GO BEYOND! [emphasis],” he noted.
More than 500 volunteers — many from Dawson and others from the surrounding Homewood community — worked in two-hour shifts for the meal-packing event Jan. 11.
The event was held at the Exceptional Foundation, which is located a half-mile from the church. Once volunteers arrived at the worksite via a shuttle service from Dawson’s parking lot, they were shown a short orientation video about their role in the food packing process.
After the bulk food was unloaded off the truck, packing stations were used to both mix the food and place the meals into plastic bags. Volunteers worked at these packing stations, serving in an assembly-line setup. The meals were then boxed and loaded back on the truck for shipping. “At the end of the day, the food is … ready to ship overseas,” Hale said of the process.
The food packed was a nutritious mixture of rice, dried vegetables, soy, vitamins and minerals. This type of mixture is “easy and safe to transport, simple to make with only boiling water and culturally acceptable worldwide,” according to FMSC’s website.
“[The food] was purchased through the faithful missions giving of our membership,” Hale said. “A part was also purchased by Dawson children through their commitment day banks last November.”
Hale noted Feed One Hungry Child was a “cross-generational service event,” and many parents served with their children. “Grandparents worked side-by-side with their children and grandchildren helping to feed hungry people,” he said. “It was a beautiful picture of what the church should look like.”
One parent who served was Dawson member Kris Griffin, who volunteered with her husband and their five kids. The participation of all ages was one of the “great things” about the event, she said.
Griffin noted her role as volunteer coordinator for the event “very quickly became obsolete” once she realized how quickly church members were signing up to participate. “We thought we’d have to spend time recruiting people” but the recruitment took care of itself, she noted. “The way this was so organized and so well-planned — it couldn’t have gone better.”
And Hale said the success of Feed One Hungry Child has made it likely Dawson will participate in the event again in the future.
“We wanted every member of the church to understand that every Christian has a biblical responsibility to serve,” he said. “Every member was asked to make a commitment to be open to God’s leading in the future.”
For more information about FMSC and ways your church can volunteer, visit www.fmsc.org.