UNY Conference exceeds meal-packaging goal
There are more than one billion hungry people in the world today, but there is enough food in the world to feed everyone 4.3 pounds of food every day.
Stop Hunger Now (SHN) strives to end hunger by providing food and aid to vulnerable areas worldwide. At the 2015 session of Annual Conference, several hundred Upper New York volunteers of all age groups and abilities helped with SHN’s mission on Thursday, May 28, at The Oncenter’s War Memorial Arena in Syracuse.
“Once again, I’m encouraged by the way we included a time for hands-on service at Annual Conference,” said the Rev. Bill Gottschalk-Fielding, Director of Connectional Ministries. “Over 75,000 families around the world will have a nutritious meal because we United Methodists got together in Syracuse last month!”
Volunteers packaged 75,384 meals, exceeding the Conference goal of packaging 75,000 and the 2014 Annual Conference session meal-packaging total.
Each meal costs 29 cents – to purchase the materials necessary to package the meals – and feeds one family. At this price, the Conference had to raise $21,861.36 to reach the meal-packaging goal; donations are still coming in and the Conference is nearing that amount. Church Mutual made a sizable donation, and its team members also packaged meals.
God’s Gracious Gleaners and the Conference United Methodist Men helped notably, working tirelessly to set up for the event, package meals, and clean up at the event’s conclusion.
At the beginning of both the lunch and dinner shifts, there were not enough volunteers due to other events going on. But once this was made known, volunteers flooded the War Memorial, according to Cherish McGowan, Assistant to the Director of Connectional Ministries.
“It’s hard to articulate the feeling I got when I looked around the War Memorial and saw hundreds of people working together, each doing their assigned task, laughing, dancing, and contributing to such an important cause,” McGowan said. “I think the event was a very positive, uplifting event for the Conference again this year, and I was very happy to be a part of it.”
McGowan helped prepare the Conference for the event, beginning last fall. She got in contact with SHN to discuss the event, meal-packaging goals and costs, packaging shifts, and more. She also worked closely with the War Memorial to ensure volunteers had meals available to them – as the event took place during meal hours – and to discuss other event requirements as well as helping with fundraising.
“Stop Hunger Now is a focused, dedicated, and impressive organization,” said McGowan. The organization has packaged 201,540,739 meals in total, and it serves 71 countries.
The 75,384 meals packaged at the 2015 AC session were shipped to Uganda and Mozambique. In 2014, the packaged meals were sent to Haiti and Malawi, areas that are gravely affected by hunger.
“I would like to thank each and every person who helped to make this event the success that it was, whether by donating their time, money, or both,” McGowan said. “We will be doing another meal-packaging event with Stop Hunger Now at some point in the future, and we look forward to having another successful and meaningful event.”