By Jessica Brodie
The S.C. Conference is returning to hunger ministry as the service project for Annual Conference 2015, set for June 7-11.
The conference is again partnering with the international hunger relief organization Stop Hunger Now to host a daylong meal-packaging event to help hungry people in desperate need of lifesaving meal packets. This is the same project that was done at Annual Conference 2013, and it was so successful that S.C. United Methodists raised not only the $72,000 needed to do the meal-packaging event but also to donate an additional $97,000 to hunger ministries throughout the state.
This year, the costs of supplies and shipping have gone up, so the conference will be seeking $86,000 to do the Stop Hunger Now event, plus volunteers to work four-hour shifts and pack meals, said Chris Lynch, coordinator of the SHN 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.
“Hunger, not only locally but even globally, is such a critical issue and such a problem worldwide, and this just is a chance to make a real difference,” Lynch said. “Stop Hunger Now has the infrastructure to do something like this on a massive scale and do it well—we saw that firsthand in 2013, and part of what made that experience so memorable was the partnership with Stop Hunger Now. They’re very good at what they do.”
Lynch said the AC2015 event will run similar to the AC2013 event: at least three shifts, possibly four, with the final shift being more youth-oriented. The hope is that the youth who participate in the final shift will stay for that evening’s youth-oriented worship service, he said.
Currently, the team is seeking point persons in each district who will serve as liaison between the conference and the district, and also help get the word out to local churches about the need for volunteers and funds.
“Our hope is every church will be involved and get behind this thing,” Lynch said. “It will benefit not just Stop Hunger Now and the annual conference, but locally as well in their very communities. That was what was most attractive to us in 2013—the connection back to the local community.”
In the next month or two, people will be able to sign up for a volunteer shift online, and/or make a donation to the conference Stop Hunger Now effort. In the meantime, Lynch and his team encourage churches to begin planning ways they can raise money, identify local hunger and children in poverty ministries for any surplus money, and consider whether they can volunteer on packing day at AC2015.
To help with the planning of the event, contact Lynch at email@example.com or 864-590-4628. Watch the Advocate for details and updates.
Stop Hunger Now: What’s next?
Between now and Annual Conference 2015, churches should:
- Begin to dialogue about hunger and Christian response
- Think through how their church can be a part of Stop Hunger Now at AC2015
- Start collecting money in anticipation of the event
For information: www.umcsc.org/stophungernow.