On Saturday, April 30, St. Mark United Methodist Church in Seneca kicked off its annual St. Mark Festival by sponsoring a Rise Against Hunger food packaging event in its St. Mark Center.
Nearly 300 people participated, including parishioners from Trinity Baptist Church, Ann Hope UMC, local scout troops, honor students and Call Me MISTER members from Clemson University. It was an all-ages, interfaith endeavor to help hungry people—mainly African school-age children—around the world. By the end of the well-orchestrated, two-hour event, 40,114 meals (a mixture of rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and vitamins) were measured, sealed, labeled and packed on pallets to be shipped where needed.
The founder of Rise Against Hunger, the Rev. Ray Buchanan (based in Virginia), was present at St. Mark to oversee the event and to preach the following day.
“For more than 90 percent of the children these meals go to, this will be the only meal they get for the day,” he said.
Most children would not attend school without these meals. Education, Buchanan said, is the best way to end the cycle of poverty.
“It’s obvious that St. Mark is a mission-minded church,” Buchanan added.
Although the pandemic prevented such gatherings for the past couple of years, 2022 marks the eighth year St. Mark has held a Rise Against Hunger event.