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Hundreds of children gathered in Africa, food packaging

27 September 2009 1,762 views No Comment

LANCASTER — This year, Fairfield Christian Academy’s annual community service day had no boundaries.

While some worked to improve Fairfield County, hundreds of students worked Friday inside Fairfield Christian Church’s Family Life Center, assembling food packages that would provide 225,000 meals to starving children in Africa.

The event, which concludes today, was possible through the Christian nonprofit group Feed My Starving Children.

“We need to shine a light and reach out not only to Fairfield County, Ohio, but throughout the world,” Pastor Bill Lavely said Friday morning.

Students and community members assembled packages of dehydrated vegetables, chicken flavoring, soy and rice — a formula designed to save the lives of starving and malnourished children.

The goal was to pack 225,000 meals, using just those four ingredients and 1,000 volunteers. Between 160 and 180 volunteers filled the Family Life Center during each two-hour shift and worked at several assembly stations.

Bob Evans catered the event and treated the volunteers to breakfast and lunch both days.

Those volunteers chanted, cheered and worked mechanically to fill the packages.

One team chanted “Chicken! Veggies! Soy! Rice!” as they tapped their metal scoopers full of ingredients one by one into a cylinder, then “Jump out of your socks! We filled a box!” once the team completely filled a box.

Freshmen Michaela Bethel, Megan Conn and Rachel Vizzo joked about their assembly line, which ran like clockwork.

“If only the kids knew what we go through to give them food,” Bethel said with a smile Friday.

“They’d either cry or laugh,” Conn said.

The girls said they enjoyed the event, but what they liked even more was being able to give to those in need.

“It feels really good to know we helped someone, even though we’re miles apart, and through one hour of our service, they’ll be able to have a year’s worth of food,” Bethel said.

Aileen Morrissey, Feed My Starving Children off-site packing supervisor, said the event is great for people of any age. She pointed out young children creating signs that would be shipped to Africa with the food and senior citizens applying labels to the packages.

“Yes, we’re feeding starving children on the other side of the world, but we’re also feeding the spirits of the people here,” Morrissey said.

Lancaster resident Donna Warner worked with fifth-graders Evan Ruble and Will Kennedy at one station. Warner, whose nieces and nephew go to Fairfield Christian, said she was excited to be a part of the event.

“We had extra time, and we want to do it,” she said. “It’s a really nice thing to do.”

Lavely said students, families and community members worked to raise more than money throughout the year to fund the project, which wouldn’t have been possible without their support.

Each meal costs 17 cents to make and more than $38,000 altogether.

mday@nncogannett.com

Copyright ©2009 Lancaster Eagle-Gazette

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