By Jessica Brodie
FLORENCE—Donning meal-packing gloves and hairnets, men, women and children from across South Carolina will come together at Annual Conference for a massive one-day Stop Hunger Now event to help hungry people in desperate need of food.
Set for Tuesday, June 9, at the Florence Civic Center, the Stop Hunger Now meal-packing is this year’s Annual Conference service project. Partnering with the international hunger relief organization Stop Hunger Now, the conference is seeking $86,000 for meals for the event, plus volunteers to work shifts and pack food, said Chris Lynch, coordinator of the effort. Any funds raised beyond the $86,000 will go toward both hunger and children in poverty ministries across the state and shared equally among the 12 districts, Lynch said. (Sign up or donate here.)
“It gives us a chance to make an impact on hunger not only globally but, with the added bonus of the extra money coming back in the districts, it gives us an opportunity to make a difference locally, too,” Lynch said. “It shows that we can do much more together than we can do separately.”
This is the same service project done at Annual Conference 2013, and it was so successful that the conference raised not only funds needed to do the meal-packaging event but also to donate an additional $97,000 to hunger ministries throughout the state. Lynch and other organizers hope this year’s event will raise even more.
And it’s fun, Lynch said.
“It’s a lot of work, but it doesn't feel like work,” Lynch said, recalling the buzz in the air at the 2013 meal-packing, from the music to the talking and laughter as strangers quickly became friends. “As the day went on, the energy grew, not only in the room but on the floor at Annual Conference. It became a huge celebration of ‘look what we can do together.’ It’s the power of the connection when we put our hearts and minds together.”
Matt Brodie, conference communications director, said a huge push has begun in districts across the state to mobilize volunteers and monetary donations, and organizers are eager to see how well South Carolina does this year compared to the stellar results of 2013.
Plus, he said, “Stop Hunger Now brings our ministry outside our church walls and even out of our state and nation so we are being in ministry with those around the world.”
Volunteers of all ages are needed to pack in one of three shifts:
- Shift One: 9-11:30 a.m.
- Shift Two: 12-2:30 p.m.
- Shift Three: 3-6 p.m.
While adults are encouraged to register for any of the shifts, youth are being asked to pack during the third shift so they can participate in a youth pizza party immediately following shift three, then stay for the evening’s youth- and young adult-oriented worship service, preached by the Rev. Jonathan Tomkins, pastor of Travelers Rest UMC, Travelers Rest.
To volunteer or make a monetary donation to the Stop Hunger Now event June 9, go to www.umcsc.org/home/resources/2015-annual-conference/2015-stop-hunger-now. That page also includes further Stop Hunger Now resources, such as bulletin inserts.
For more information: [email protected] or 864-590-4628.